Britten: 4 Sea Interludes, Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra / Elgar: Enigma Variations

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Scott Paulin
They're two of the most popular orchestral works by any British composers, and they're both theme-and-variation sets. In fact, it's hard to imagine better bedfellows than Elgar's Enigma Variations and Britten's Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra (a.k.a. Variations and Fugue on a Theme of Purcell) -- which makes it a real surprise that this album from Paavo Järvi and the Cincinnati Symphony is the only one currently available that pairs the two works together. Luckily, the performances are excellent, making it a highly appealing dose of musical Anglophilia: It's an easy recommendation for anyone seeking not only those two pieces but also another Britten favorite, the ...
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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Scott Paulin
They're two of the most popular orchestral works by any British composers, and they're both theme-and-variation sets. In fact, it's hard to imagine better bedfellows than Elgar's Enigma Variations and Britten's Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra (a.k.a. Variations and Fugue on a Theme of Purcell) -- which makes it a real surprise that this album from Paavo Järvi and the Cincinnati Symphony is the only one currently available that pairs the two works together. Luckily, the performances are excellent, making it a highly appealing dose of musical Anglophilia: It's an easy recommendation for anyone seeking not only those two pieces but also another Britten favorite, the Sea Interludes from his opera Peter Grimes. As the Young Person's Guide introduces each instrument of the orchestra, the spotlight shines on every member of the Cincinnati Symphony -- and a very flattering spotlight it is, revealing in detail this orchestra's deep strengths. The ensemble's virtuosity has, of course, been on display in all of their many fine recordings under music director Järvi, not only on an individual level but also collectively -- in the rambunctious climax of the final fugue from the Young Person's Guide, for example, or the surging climaxes of the "Storm" interlude from Peter Grimes. Yet the more subtle, diaphanous textures of the "Dawn" and "Moonlight" interludes are just as successful, and each of Elgar's 13 Enigma Variations is nicely differentiated in mood. "Nimrod," the famous elegy at the heart of Elgar's work, receives a warmly lyrical treatment, building from the mere threshold of audibility to a richly burnished climax, aided by the wonderfully vivid presence and dynamic contrast of Telarc's recorded sound.
All Music Guide - James Leonard
Many have argued that Paavo Järvi is a more talented and more accomplished conductor than his father Neeme. That may or may not be the case -- his baton technique may exceed him and his taste as an interpreter all but certainly surpasses his father's, but his control of the orchestra may not quite match his father's. One thing that is evident: the Järvis père or fils share a wonderful knack for choosing repertoire. In this 2006 Telarc recording with the Cincinnati Symphony, Paavo has coupled two excellent pieces by Benjamin Britten -- his "Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra" and "Four Sea Interludes" from "Peter Grimes" -- and one splendid piece by Edward Elgar -- his "Variations on an Original Theme" aka the "Enigma Variations". As disc mates, this works marvelously well: Britten's witty but slightly ironic style complementing Elgar's heartfelt but slightly nervous style. As performances, this works nearly as well. When the music is purely descriptive, as in much of the "Young Person's Guide," all of the "Four Sea Interludes," and portions of the "Enigma Variations," Järvi's performances are as good as the best, with vibrant colors, clear representations, and compelling narratives. When the music is more purely emotional as in the justly famous "Nimrod" variation, Järvi's interpretation falls short, leaving the music's emotional depths unsounded. Still, Järvi is a persuasive conductor, the Cincinnati plays with energy, skill, and dedication, Telarc's sound is rich, lush, and full, and ultimately, these recordings are almost completely convincing, albeit not perhaps quite in the same league as Boult, Barbirolli, or Previn.
Gramophone - Edward Greenfield
These are fresh, clean-cut performances, superbly played and vividly recorded, and can be warmly recommended to any collector.... An excellent disc.
The Guardian - Tim Ashley
Phenomenally played by the Cincinnati Symphony, [the Young Person's Guide] suits Jarvi's high-voltage style.... An exceptionally fine performance of the Four Sea Interludes.

These are fresh, clean-cut performances, superbly played and vividly recorded, and can be warmly recommended to any collector.... An excellent disc.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 9/26/2006
  • Label: Telarc
  • UPC: 089408066023
  • Catalog Number: 80660
  • Sales rank: 77,639

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra (Variations and Fugue on a Theme of Purcell), for speaker ad lib & orchestra, Op. 34 - Benjamin Britten & Anilda Carrasquillo (17:07)
  2. 2 Sea Interludes (4) from Peter Grimes, for orchestra, Op. 33a - Benjamin Britten & Anilda Carrasquillo (16:48)
  3. 3 Enigma Variations, for orchestra, Op. 36 - Edward Elgar & Anilda Carrasquillo (31:57)
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
Paavo Järvi Primary Artist
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