Sunday, December 03, 2006

CD REVIEW: Britten/Elgar

CDs study fate, all-British work
By Edward Reichel
Deseret Morning News, December 3, 2006

PAAVO JARVI, CONDUCTOR, THE CINCINNATI SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA; Britten: "The Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra," "Four Sea Interludes," Elgar: "Enigma Variations" (Telarc) *** 1/2

PAAVO JARVI has been the Cincinnati Symphony's music director for five years, and in that time he has compiled an impressive discography that shows his versatility as a conductor. His most recent CD for Telarc is an all-British album that features three popular works: Benjamin Britten's "The Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra" and the "Four Sea Interludes" from his opera "Peter Grimes," and Edward Elgar's "Enigma Variations." And each is given a dynamic performance that brings a freshness to this well-known music that is welcome.

No matter how often one has heard "The Young Person's Guide," one never seems to get tired of it. It is wonderfully orchestrated, and Henry Purcell's theme on which the work is based goes through an imaginative set of variations. Jarvi elicits a colorful and vibrant performance from the orchestra that captures the splashes of the ever changing sounds in the piece.

The "Four Sea Interludes" is perhaps Britten's best known work, at least in the United States. These are wonderfully descriptive and frequently poetic pieces in which the composer brilliantly captures the course of the opera's plot. And Jarvi gets a powerful performance from the orchestra that is at once compelling and bold.

Jarvi's reading of the "Enigma Variations" is solid. He brings variety to his interpretation through his carefully nuanced interpretation, and the Cincinnati Symphony plays with wonderful articulation and expression. This is certainly one of the better recordings of the variations found on the market today.

1 comment:

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