TB & Elgar
Michael B. Richman | Portland, Maine USA | 05/06/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Recently I have begun buying titles in Sony's British Import series "Sir Thomas Beecham: The Original CBS Recordings" and I must say I am enjoying them very much. Virtually all of the CDs in this line feature mono performances from the early 1950s, but not only are some of them the conductor's best accounts of a given work, many of the selections are pieces TB never even made in stereo. Case in point, these Elgar recordings of the Cockaigne Overture, Serenade for Strings and Enigma Variations. Surprisingly, England's most famous conductor and composer rarely partnered, but Elgar did ask TB to record Enigma once technology had sufficiently improved as the composer was never truly happy with the rendition he laid down for posterity. Beecham obliged twenty years after the composer's death with this historic 1954 performance, the highlight of this CD. Sure there are better sounding stereo accounts out there, but none match the fire and intensity that Beecham offers here, not even fellow countrymen Boult or Barbirolli. In all, "Sir Thomas Beecham: The Original CBS Recordings" is a delightful series and I look forward to purchasing (and reviewing) more of them."