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Classical - Released January 1, 1982 | Deutsche Grammophon (DG)

A true chameleon capable of changing colours and styles according to the works he directs, Leonard Bernstein recorded this album in London in 1982 with the BBC Symphony Orchestra, which he directed for the first and last time on this occasion. All during troubled times with Margaret Thatcher’s military response against Argentina following the events in the Falkland Islands. In this context, Bernstein, who hadn’t often come back to Great Britain since 1948, conducted the most patriotic music of all: the work of Sir Edward Elgar, first in concert, then for this recording released by Deutsche Grammophon. The collaboration with the BBC Symphony Orchestra didn’t start off so well… After arriving late because he had underestimated his travel time, Bernstein started the repetition with no apologies whatsoever, imposing on disgruntled musicians excessively slow or fast tempos, although always in connection with Elgar’s indications. Today the most striking aspect of this recording is the finesse of interpretation, which takes into account Elgar’s numerous German and French influences that appear through extreme nuances and subtle sound layers. The famous variation Nimrod, approached very gently with a slowness that renders it almost unrecognisable, all of a sudden takes on a metaphysical dimension. For good measure, Bernstein added two of the famous marches from Pomp and Circumstance, the first one being more or less a secondary British national anthem. © François Hudry/Qobuz
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Classical - Released June 1, 2018 | Chandos

Hi-Res Booklet
Although the 1911 Second Symphony is without a doubt – alongside the slightly later Cello Concerto – the greatest work by the mature Elgar, the Serenade for Strings, finished in 1892 but based on even older material, is clearly the masterpiece of his youth. The Symphony, the last one that the composer finished (a Third was left under construction), is not short of typically English pomp, but the most salient feature of the work is definitely the vast contrast from one movement to the next, or indeed within a given movement, where spontaneous outbursts of feeling mix with regal bursts and doleful chants that speak of a kind of underlying mourning. The Serenade speaks happily of the pleasant English countryside, a kind of song without words: a profoundly British sort of Mendelssohnian inheritance. the BBC Symphony Orchestra swims like a fish in the water of this ineffable, fine music that's bursting with hidden meanings. © SM/Qobuz