Elgar: Falstaff; Enigma Variations

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WORKS: Falstaff; Enigma Variations
PERFORMER: Hallé Orchestra, Philharmonia Orchestra/John Barbirolli
CATALOGUE NO: CDM 5 66322 2 ADD 1964/63
Returning to Barbirolli’s 1964 recording of Falstaff, you are once again bowled over by the splendour of the Hallé’s playing which is rich in solo characterisation and tutti sonority. Barbirolli’s command of what must be Elgar’s most complex symphonic structure is breathtaking: the music, in an almost constant state of tempo rubato, ebbs and flows magically, each transitional corner perfectly turned. The recorded sound remains very fine. Barbirolli’s Enigma does not represent the conductor at his most inspired but this is a good serviceable version. Anthony Payne