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Edward Elgar

Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra / Sakari Oramo

Symphony No. 1 - Cockaigne (In London Town)

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  • Type SACD
  • Label Bis
  • UPC 7318599919393
  • Catalog number BIS 1939
  • Release date 18 July 14

About the album

It was during the winter of 1900–01 that Elgar began to sketch what he hoped would turn into a symphony – his first. But the sketches were quickly absorbed into several shorter pieces, one of which was the Cockaigne overture. Although composed in the rural area of the Malvern Hills, the work is nevertheless an unashamedly populist portrait of ‘old London town’, complete with references to whistling errand boys and a marching band – the composer himself described the music as ‘cheerful and Londony’. As for the First Symphony, seven years would pass before its première in Manchester and subsequent London performance – a triumphant occasion, as described by Elgar’s publisher: ‘After the first movement E.E. was called out; again, several times, after the third… people stood up and even on their seats to get a view.’ For Elgar, the success must have come as an immense relief - the symphony is hugely ambitious in scale and scope, but also seems to have had a personal significance to the composer, who summarized it as follows: ‘There is no programme beyond a wide experience of human life, with a great charity (love) & a massive hope in the future.’ Conducting this all-Elgar programme is Sakari Oramo, the Finnish conductor who has been all but adopted by English music-lovers and orchestras – for ten years he was music director of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, and since 2013 he holds the post as chief conductor of the BBC Symphony Orchestra. Playing here, however, as on the acclaimed 2013 release of Elgar’s Second Symphony, is his ‘Swedish orchestra’, the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra. But lovers of Elgar’s music can rest assured: in the words of the reviewer on the British web site classicalsource.com ‘there is no need to be concerned that a Finnish conductor and a Swedish orchestra do not “get” Elgar’s music. They do – with power, passion, compassion and authority…’
 

  • 1
    1
    Symphony No. 1 in A flat major , Op. 55 I. Andante. Nobilmente e semplice – Allegro
    Composer: Edward Elgar
     
    19:24
  • 1
    2
    Symphony No. 1 in A flat major , Op. 55 II. Allegro molto –
    Composer: Edward Elgar
     
    08:15
  • 1
    3
    Symphony No. 1 in A flat major , Op. 55 III. Adagio
    Composer: Edward Elgar
     
    11:55
  • 1
    4
    Symphony No. 1 in A flat major , Op. 55 IV. Lento – Allegro
    Composer: Edward Elgar
     
    12:24
  • 1
    5
    Cockaigne (In London Town) , overture, Op. 40
    Composer: Edward Elgar
     
    14:11

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First rate performance of Elgar’s First Symphony, with a commanding architectural control, excellent dynamics and plenty of true feelings
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