Elgar 1 |Bernard Haitink | Philharmonia Orchestra

by Glenn on August 25, 2014

Artwork for the 2 CD collection of Elgar's two symphonies and Pomp & Circumstance No. 5 conducted by Bernard Haitink with the Philharmonia Orchestra.

CD artwork of music by Elgar. The two symphonies and a Pomp & Circumstance are conducted by Bernard Haitink.

My Elgar 1 listening obsession continues and here is a recording for the ages. I think I’ve only heard Mahler performances by Bernard Haitink. How great that he crossed the Channel to record English music with an English orchestra—in this case, Elgar’s First Symphony with the Philharmonia Orchestra.

What strikes me about Haitink is his ability to manage the big and small picture. There is plenty of detail, but the music doesn’t come across as excessively fussed over. Haitink allows his players to play. If you enjoy plenty of brass power and punch, this is a great recording. Note: It’s not that the brass dominates this recording. There is a fine orchestral balance. But when they play, they really play. It’s exhilarating.

(One small thing: was there an early trumpet entrance in the build-up to the “Big Theme” at the end? Need to listen with a score.)

I’ve listened to this recording twice, now. It really is beautiful when it’s supposed to be beautiful, but also aggressive, tender, haunting, sparkling, elegiac, all at the right times. There is both schmaltz and punch. The slow build to the Big Reprise in the last movement is great.

This does not replace André Previn and the Royal Philharmonic on my Desert Island CD list, but it’s really good.

This was recorded 20–21 April 1983 in London’s Walthamstow Assembly Hall.

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[…] Haitink | Philharmonia Orchestra (See my review here.) Recorded: Walthamstow Assembly Hall | 20–21 April […]

by Solti’s Handling of Elgar’s First (Symphony Studies No. 1 of 118) « glennaustin.com on 13 July 2015 at 10:07 pm. #