|last updated 15 January 2010|
2PD15 Van Beinum conducts Elgar
London Philharmonic Orchestra
Eduard van Beinum (conductor)
Recorded in the Kingsway Hall, London
Andrew Achenbach writing in The Gramophone Magazine, September 2006:
...I thoughly enjoyed reaquainting myself with this performance of the Elgar Concerto ... its a selfless, intensely musical reading, notable for the soloist's hard working dedication and Eduard van Beinum's observant support. For once the great slow movement is not pulled around - and how instinctively these artists tap the vein of arching sorrow under those darkening skies.
Cockaigne fairly swaggers with exuberance, the LPO responding with tremendous zest and fresh-faced application for its then chief, yet there's tenderness, poetry and humour aplenty when required. even finer are the Wand of Youth Suites. Van Beinum extracts heaps of vigor, innocence, nostalgia and wit from these captivating miniatures, and I'd place his poetic and strongly characterised accounts at the top of the pile... So if you failed to snap up this valuable compilation first time round, you've no excuse now.
Rob Cowan on Radio 3 CD Review (23 September 1995) said of this performance of the Cockaigne Overture " I was bowled over...it has newsreel type excitement ". He went on to remark that Anthony Pini's performance of the Cello Concerto was "equivalent to the Albert Sammons Violin Concerto, very straightforward, very deep as an introspection, very personal but not over demonstrative. Its extremely moving. "
The Independent 28 July 1995 wrote:
A minute or so spent in the company of Eduard van Beinum's Cockaigne is enough to lift anyone's spirits. The pace is so fast, the playing full of newsreel-style excitement and the conducting as characterful as Beecham's and as bracing as Elgar's own. Just listen to the crisply articulated woodwinds, the sharp-edged attack of the brass or the wistful but never cloying strings.
Van Beinum was the Concertgebouw's most distinguished regular maestro after Mengelberg and before Haitink: a compassionate disciplinarian who could scale Brucknerian heights or bring sunlight to Mendelssohn and Schubert. He even spent two seasons with the LPO, and when you consider that this was by no means the orchestra's best period, his achievement here seems doubly remarkable.
Anthony Pini's account of the Cello Concerto has dignity, strength and natural reserve: the first movement is outgoing and proud; the Scherzo vigorous, if fairly bland; the Adagio quietly confessional; and the finale, with its sudden rushes of melancholy, eloquent beyond words. As to the Wand of Youth, both suites are superbly done and there's some breathtaking virtuosity in "The Wild Bears". The recordings (some from original tapes, others from shellac pressings) are variable. But, that apart, this is an absolute winner.
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