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Violin Concertos

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Audio CD, March 19, 2002
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Editorial Reviews

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Though sadly unfamiliar to audiences outside his native England, Albert Sammons was one of the greatest violinists of his time, as is amply proved by his playing on this disc. His tone, despite the recording's age, is pure, focused, intense, and unfailingly expressive, soaring radiantly in the high register. His technique is formidable, his intonation impeccable, his facility brilliant but never showy, and he uses his instrumental mastery entirely in the service of the music. The performances recorded here, expressing a deep understanding of and personal feeling for the music, are truly authentic: Delius wrote his concerto for him and accepted his technical advice, and he often performed Elgar's under the composer's baton.

Both works are thoroughly romantic and seem to breathe the pastoral, peaceful, leisurely, expansive air of the English countryside. But they also generate intense passion and bursts of brilliant virtuosity, which Sammons tosses off easily. The runs are crystal clear and always part of the music. In keeping with the style of the time, he slides a good deal, but invariably with taste and discretion; his playing is austere and unsentimental. The Delius is predominantly dreamy, atmospheric, and rhapsodic, but Sammons, aided by Malcolm Sargent, saves it from rambling. The more popular Elgar is a much stronger work. Masterfully constructed and orchestrated, somber, nostalgic, and melancholy, it abounds with beguilingly beautiful, rapturous melodies, which Sammons plays with great warmth and affection. Henry Wood's brisk tempos and famously brusque approach preclude any effusive lingering, but give the fast movements vitality and momentum. --Edith Eisler


1. Violin Concerto, RT vii/6: With moderate tempo
2. Violin Concerto, RT vii/6: Slower
3. Violin Concerto in B minor, Op. 61: Allegro
4. Violin Concerto in B minor, Op. 61: Andante
5. Violin Concerto in B minor, Op. 61: Allegro molto -
6. Violin Concerto in B minor, Op. 61: Cadenza (accompagnata: Lento) - Allegro Molto

Product Details

  • Orchestra: Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, New Queen's Hall Orchestra
  • Conductor: Henry Wood, Malcolm Sargent
  • Composer: Frederick Delius, Edward Elgar
  • Audio CD (March 19, 2002)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Naxos
  • Run Time: 68 minutes
  • ASIN: B00005Y0MW
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #191,772 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By David Saemann VINE VOICE on December 16, 2008
Format: Audio CD
This is one of the many historical titles that Naxos withdrew from the American market as part of its settlement of a copyright lawsuit with EMI. Albert Sammons was the dedicatee of the Delius Concerto, and it is hard to imagine a better performance. It is subtle and moving, even gentle when required. Malcolm Sargent directs a splendid accompaniment, and the 1944 sound engineering is quite listenable. Isaac Stern wore out several copies of this recording on 78's, high testimony to its accomplishment. As for the Elgar, it was the first complete recording of the score. Sammons had already recorded an abridged version during the days of acoustical recording. The 1929 sound engineering isn't always kind to the orchestra, which only comes through clearly in the tuttis. Nevertheless, Sammons's performance is a touchstone for this work, filled with romance and wistfulness. Henry Wood's accompaniment, such as can be heard, is brisk and occasionally brusque. One wishes from this CD that Sammons's discography was more generally available.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful By G. Dorfman on May 22, 2011
Format: Audio CD
Albert Sammons was the first to record the Elgar, a magnificent and immense work, and the performance and collaboration holds up against all comers. Violinist, orchestra and conductor get to the heart of the music -- actually they seem to embody it, (perhaps it runs in their bloodstream,) and it makes their rendition unmatchable.
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