Gustav Styger witnessed a grand evening that featured...
> Elgar's Violin
> Concerto and the 2nd symphony by Sibelius and the orchestra was the Cape
> Town Philharmonic under the baton of Owen Arwell Hughes.
> I have never before encountered the Elgar Violin Concerto. I assumed it
> would be a large work, but I was unprepared for the sheer size and length
> of the concerto! ...
> I have only known a few other works by Elgar - the Cello Concerto, Pomp
> and Circumstance Marches and the Enigma Variations - and was thus quite
> surprised by the very romantic sound of this work.
It surprises me that anyone would be surprised by this as, to me, Elgar's
Cello Concerto is the ne plus utra of late romantic concertante music, and
most of Elgar also fits under that rubric to my ears. That his VC would
fall into the same general realm would seem to follow, even if I were
unfamiliar with it.
> ...Any recommendations?
I'll be interested in these, as -- given the size and length you mention
-- I haven't so far been won over (as I have with duPre's enraptured
playing of the Cello concerto, under Barbirolli. With Dame Janet Baker
doing sublime work with Elgar's Sea Pictures on that CD, it's among my
prized recordings). I suspect that the Menuhin, with the composer at
the baton, is likely to be recommended, 'though I find the sound quality
doesn't overcome that size and length.
> The concert ended with the Sibelius, a work I know well, but have never
> seen performed. I must say it was mind-blowing, the way the main theme
> emerged at the end and the wonderful passages for the brass, as well as
> a large part for the tuba, my ex-instrument. It was great to hear the
> big guy from the brass section laying the foundation in some of the
I saw this performed once, and disastrously. Or put it this way: I'd
brought along someone new to classical who I knew was puzzled, maybe
even flummoxed, by the work -- and I strongly believe in the influence
one's awareness of other ears has on what one's hearing.
> I would say recitals by world class musicians like, Konstantin Sherbakov,
> Sergei Nakariakov and Maria Kliegel, together with this last concert
> were my concert-going highlights this year.
Seems like 2007 was a very good year for you!
> What would rank as your most
> memorable concert experiences for 2007?
Not a good one for me, alas. But if you're curious to explore Owain
Arwell Hughes further, I'd urge on you his traversal of the symphonies
of Vagn Holmboe (1909-96). No similarity to Elgar or even Sibelius that
I can make out, but it's extremely good advocacy of some splendid music.
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