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Holst & Elgar: The Planets & Enigma Variations

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Catalogue numberBIS-2068 SACD
Release date2019-07-05
Discs1
Orig. sample rate96000Hz
Total time82:42

It is striking that two of the true classics in English orchestral music were composed within the short space of some fifteen years around the turn of the previous century. Edward Elgar's Enigma Variations have charmed as well as fascinated listeners since the first performance in 1899. In 14 remarkably diverse variations Elgar demonstrates his compositional mastery while creating miniature portraits of his closest friends, as well as of his wife and himself. By turns gentle, idyllic, tempestuous and boisterous, the pieces – which often run seamlessly into each other – nevertheless make up a coherent whole, like a group portrait taken during a country weekend. As for the enigma of the title, Elgar – who loved puzzles – maintained that another melody ‘went with’ the theme, and musicologists have searched for the answer ever since, without success. In 1916 Gustav Holst completed another set of musical character sketches – his suite The Planets, in seven movements. These have little to do with astronomy and even less with the Roman deities whose names they carry. Holst was rather inspired by astrology and the suite actually concerns human character as influenced by the planets. The concept – like that of Elgar's variations – provides for a variety of moods and expressions, and in his score Holst took full advantage of these possibilities. To achieve this he made use of a large orchestra including much percussion, two harps, celesta, organ, two sets of timpani. He also included parts for certain unusual instruments such as bass flute, bass oboe and tenor tuba, and – in the final movement – a female chorus. Performing the programme in the warm acoustics of Bergen's Grieg Hall, the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra under Andrew Litton give it their all in this sonic spectacular.
 
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$ 19.81
 
Extra material for download
 
 
  Composer: Elgar, Sir Edward
  Variations on an Original Theme, Op. 36, ‘Enigma Variations' 32:27
01 Theme. Enigma: Andante 01:29 $ 0.36 USD
02 I. (C. A. E.) L’istesso tempo 02:04 $ 0.50 USD
03 II. (H. D. S-P.) Allegro 00:46 $ 0.18 USD
04 III. (R. B. T.) Allegretto 01:24 $ 0.34 USD
05 IV. (W. M. B.) Allegro di molto 00:32 $ 0.13 USD
06 V. (R. P. A.) Moderato 02:20 $ 0.56 USD
07 VI. (Ysobel) Andantino 01:20 $ 0.32 USD
08 VII. (Troyte) Presto 00:59 $ 0.24 USD
09 VIII. (W. N.) Allegretto 02:05 $ 0.50 USD
10 IX. (Nimrod) Adagio 04:16 $ 1.02 USD
11 X. (Dorabella) Intermezzo: Allegretto 02:45 $ 0.66 USD
12 XI. (G. R. S.) Allegro di molto 01:02 $ 0.25 USD
13 XII. (B. G. N.) Andante 02:46 $ 0.66 USD
14 XIII. (* * *) Romanza: Moderato 02:54 $ 0.70 USD
15 XIV. (E. D. U.) Finale: Allegro 05:45 $ 1.38 USD
 
 
  Composer: Holst, Gustav
  The Planets, suite for large orchestra, Op. 32 50:05
16 I. Mars, the Bringer of War 07:19 $ 1.76 USD
17 II. Venus, the Bringer of Peace 07:51 $ 1.88 USD
18 III. Mercury, the Winged Messenger 04:03 $ 0.97 USD
19 IV. Jupiter, the Bringer of Jollity 08:00 $ 1.92 USD
20 V. Saturn, the bringer of Old Age 09:13 $ 2.21 USD
21 VI. Uranus, the Magician 05:40 $ 1.36 USD
22 VII. Neptune, the Mystic 07:59 $ 1.92 USD
 
  Album total 82:42
ComposerElgar, Sir Edward
Holst, Gustav
ConductorLitton, Andrew
OrchestraBergen Philharmonic Orchestra
ChoirBergen Philharmonic Choir
Edvard Grieg Kor

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