Elgar: Nursery Suite; Dream Children; Chanson de nuit; Chanson de matin; Sérénade lyrique; Carissima; Salut d’amour; May-Song

Our rating 
3.0 out of 5 star rating 3.0

COMPOSERS: Elgar
LABELS: Nimbus
WORKS: Nursery Suite; Dream Children; Chanson de nuit; Chanson de matin; Sérénade lyrique; Carissima; Salut d’amour; May-Song
PERFORMER: English SO/William Boughton
CATALOGUE NO: NI 7029 DDD
Elgar’s Nursery Suite, based on youthful sketches, is a late work composed and recorded by Elgar in 1931. It is a delightful piece that deserves to be more widely known. The composer’s view of ‘The Waggon Passes’ is a more vivid and balanced picture of plodding horses, heavy wheels and jingling reins than Boughton’s rather heavy, two-dimensional evocation. This is a weaker movement in an otherwise pleasing performance. Boughton shows us extra little dimensions of character: the Merry Doll, through some nicely subtle brass playing, seems to giggle as she gaily rushes about, and you can see the Sad Doll in a faded dress remembering colourful balls of better days. Boughton captures the innocence of childhood but I miss the extra magic and enchantment that Bryden Thomson brought to his Chandos reading – slow tempi notwithstanding. The Nimbus sound is warm and bright and the dynamics wide. On the plus side this enables little poignancies to peep out – Dream Children is achingly expressive of what might have been. On the other hand, a too prominent bass spoils the romance of Salut d’amour and almost makes the Chanson de nuit sound like a dirge. Ian Lace

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