SACD & Other Hi-Res Reviews
ELGAR: Symphony No. 1 in A Flat Major; Sonata for Organ in G Major (Transcribed by Gordon Jacob) – BBC National Orchestra of Wales/Richard Hickox – Chandos
Published on June 8, 2008
Elgar dedicated his First Symphony of 1907 to Hans Richter, the conductor who had premiered his Enigma Variations in 1899. It opens with what he had called a “noble and simple melody,” which serves as the motto theme for the entire work. There is no specific program for the work, and the first movement is by far the longest of the four, with a feeling of upward-striving melodic development. The work’s finale also has an optimistic feeling, with its final pages reasserting Elgar’s stated “massive hope for the future.”
His Organ Sonata was the only piece Elgar has written prior to his First Symphony which had multiple movements. He had written the work for the organist of Worcester Cathedral. Some years after the composer’s death his British publishers proposed the idea of orchestrating the Organ Sonata. The final result doesn’t betray its origins as an organ work, and sounds instead like a notable orchestral companion to the First Symphony. The transparent surround sonics draw the listener into the structure and development of both orchestral works.
– John Sunier