Mstation Classical Reviews

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Fri, 01 Apr 2005

Elgar, The Enigma Variations

DVD, BBC Opus Arte

Sir Edward Elgar Bt. (1857 - 1934) was the son of a piano tuner, and as a commoner, married a Baroness who's allowance was cut off for marrying such a nonentity. Pleasingly, the marriage agreed with him to such an extent that he produced all his greatest work during it and subsequently became one of England's most loved (Land of Hope and Glory) and honoured composers.

The Enigma Variations was the start of his reputation and all the honours that flowed his way. They consist of a series of short pieces that were each inspired by a friend. On this DVD we get a tour of the characters by the conductor, Sir Andrew Davis, along with comments on the music itself. We also get the performance as a whole, filmed at Worcester Cathedral, close by where Elgar lived in the Malvern hills.

It's a really nice and fairly effortless way to get to know a little about Elgar. The music is well performed. It's beautifully shot at the cathedral and the hills and country and the recording is first class. (Count K)

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