Tuesday, January 15, 2008

CD REVIEW: Britten and Elgar

November 9, 2007

Benjamin Britten: The Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra, Op. 34; Four Sea Interludes from Peter Grimes, Op. 33a. Sir Edward Elgar: Variations on an Original Theme, Op. 36 (“Enigma”). Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Paavo Järvi, conductor. SACD-60660 (2006).
Every audio reviewer should have a Young Person’s Guide recommendation, and this is mine. It is gorgeously played by an orchestra that has risen to world class over the last few years, and the sound has great impact and presence if you really crank the volume control (otherwise the orchestra sounds a little distant). The Sea Interludes are basically high-class movie music, expertly orchestrated and flawlessly
played here. (No, La Mer they are not.) The Enigma variations are every conductor’s cup of tea, brewed to taste, and Järvi’s taste is very good. He opts for a cool, objective approach, with very elegant phrasing. It works. Watch Paavo Järvi; I think he has already passed his dad and is on his way to superstar status.

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