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Discussion: Elgar: Symphony No. 2, In The South - Hickox

Posts: 63
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Post by akiralx September 21, 2005 (11 of 63)
DSD said:

Viktor I was not impressed with Previn's performaces of Vaughan Williams Symphonies Nos. 2 & 5 he did for Telarc on CD, and I like the Hickox performances much, much better. Was Previn's EMI cycle that much better than his Telarc recordings?

Previn's earlier cycle was on RCA not EMI - it's pretty good, though unlike Viktor I don't think it's pre-eminent: the 3 & 4 CD I had was subpar - for the Fourth Berglund is very good, but I do rate the Hickox, mainly for its fast tempi like the composer's own.

I also liked Hickox's longer version of the London, though Barbirolli's Pye disc of the normal one is better, as is Haitink's. But
those 2 are the only ones of Hickox's RVW cycle I've felt like getting.

I liked the Hickox Elgar 2 quite a lot though I think he misjudged the fast tempo for the first movement - his handling of it, plus the Chandos sound, makes it sound a little muddled and the bass is light there. I know a fastish tempo is more 'authentic', like the composers' version, but if you want that in modern sound I'd go for Tate on EMI (a bargain now in the Gemini series with his First) or Mackerras on Argo above Hickox. But Hickox's version gets better as it goes along - the driving scherzo is very fine (with good bass - why only now?) and the finale's epilogue is beautifully done, one of the best I'd say, with the extra detail that SACD brings.

At the end of the day it's all about opnions, nothing more - Viktor doesn't like Hickox or Jarvi, fair enough - though I'm not sure he does his cause any favours by putting forward Salonen for a Sibelius cycle - his Four Legends was pretty crummy, wasn't it? That's my opinion anyway...

At the end of the day we can all denigrate and exalt various conductors but we're unlikely to change anyone's opinion of them.

Post by viktor September 21, 2005 (12 of 63)
I think that Salonen has matured during his years with LAPO. His recent Hindemith CD is wonderful.

Post by Scott September 21, 2005 (13 of 63)
viktor said:

I think that Salonen has matured during his years with LAPO. His recent Hindemith CD is wonderful.

Not really. His Bruckner with them was very mediocre. Even your Gramophone buddies didn't think it was that good.

Post by viktor September 21, 2005 (14 of 63)
My Gramophone what...? Grow up.

Post by Peter September 21, 2005 (15 of 63)
I also liked Hickox's longer version of the London, though Barbirolli's Pye disc of the normal one is better, as is Haitink's.
I think Barbirolli's Pye recording (together with VW's 8th and Elgar's Enigma and Intro and Allegro) was made by the Mercury team, and should make first rate SACD transfers. However, EMI owns the tapes.

Post by viktor September 24, 2005 (16 of 63)
DSD said:

Viktor I was not impressed with Previn's performaces of Vaughan Williams Symphonies Nos. 2 & 5 he did for Telarc on CD, and I like the Hickox performances much, much better. Was Previn's EMI cycle that much better than his Telarc recordings? Chandos in their 24 Bit 96kHz PCM and their DSD recordings have excellent sound with lots of bass.

Have you heard Walton's "Christopher Columbus" 24/96 PCM again with Hickox conducting? Or how about Chandos' "Klezmer" recorded pure DSD?

Also I think all the Hickox Vaughan Williams symphonies are top notch performance wise. And all but the Symphony No. 5 (recorded 20 Bit) top notch sonically as well. All the others are 24/96 PCM. Still waiting for Hickox to finish the Vaughan Williams cycle he has not recorded Nos. 1, 7 and 9, I checked they are not on CD either. I will buy the 7th and 9th as soon as he records them. I am quite please with my Spano & Atlanta Symphony version of No.1 on Telarc SACD.

The Telarc VW from Previn/RPO are a bit lacklustre. The earlier LSO series is far better in many ways. But as with every other cycle it has it´s weaker moments. Nos 1 and 6 are not absolute winners, but I still think it is the best complete set of all. It is also very well recorded by Decca engineers for RCA.

The Walton "Christopher Columbus" sounds like something from the bottom of a barrell - and I´m a huge Walton fan. But the SACD is worth the money for the magical Ophelia piece. The Klezmer I have not heard.

Many people enjoy the Chandos sound, I´m not one of those. I find it too reverberant and often bass shy. Each to his/her own though.

Post by ContraBssn October 1, 2005 (17 of 63)
Hello. This is my first post on this board. I saw Elgar Symphony 2 and couldn't resist. The Elgar is a very special work to me, and with some 20+ recordings (mostly cd) in the library, it takes a lot to impress me.
I have enjoyed Hickox's work, I generally like Chandos' sound. So did this recording do it? Sorry, not for me. It's not a bad recording, but the competition is so fierce that challenging some the great existing recordings is tough.
There are momements in the symphony that can bring a grown man to tears, if it's done right. This is especially so in the coda of the finale, and you know, this is just too nice. It's not a tear-jerking performance. Boult, Barbirolli, Haitink, Thomson, Loughran, and even Sinopoli really pull at the heart strings.
One of the problems is the orchestra: why oh why didn't they use one of London's top professional orchestras that know this music inside and out? You can hear the orchestra's unfamiliarity with the score in many places, where it's not quite together.
The SACD sound is ok, no gripes there.
I'm glad to have heard it, and it will stay in the collection, but not as a top ranked version.

Post by DSD October 2, 2005 (18 of 63)
ContraBssn said:

Hello. This is my first post on this board. I saw Elgar Symphony 2 and couldn't resist. The Elgar is a very special work to me, and with some 20+ recordings (mostly cd) in the library, it takes a lot to impress me.
I have enjoyed Hickox's work, I generally like Chandos' sound. So did this recording do it? Sorry, not for me. It's not a bad recording, but the competition is so fierce that challenging some the great existing recordings is tough.
There are momements in the symphony that can bring a grown man to tears, if it's done right. This is especially so in the coda of the finale, and you know, this is just too nice. It's not a tear-jerking performance. Boult, Barbirolli, Haitink, Thomson, Loughran, and even Sinopoli really pull at the heart strings.
One of the problems is the orchestra: why oh why didn't they use one of London's top professional orchestras that know this music inside and out? You can hear the orchestra's unfamiliarity with the score in many places, where it's not quite together.
The SACD sound is ok, no gripes there.
I'm glad to have heard it, and it will stay in the collection, but not as a top ranked version.

Hi,

I just recieved the Elgar Symphony No. 2 SACD today and I thought it was wonderful and very exciting, but I have nothing to compare it with as this is my very first Elgar Symphony No. 2. Also it had deep, deep bass, I guess they took that critic to heart that said Chandos has no bass.

I love this SACD, are there better versions? After reading this thread I am sure there are. But I don't care I love this one and it is an SACD so I am happy.

Teresa

Post by akiralx October 2, 2005 (19 of 63)
DSD said:

Hi,

I just recieved the Elgar Symphony No. 2 SACD today and I thought it was wonderful and very exciting, but I have nothing to compare it with as this is my very first Elgar Symphony No. 2. Also it had deep, deep bass, I guess they took that critic to heart that said Chandos has no bass.

I love this SACD, are there better versions? After reading this thread I am sure there are. But I don't care I love this one and it is an SACD so I am happy.

Teresa

I would rate the best versions as Haitink (grand, powerful, superbly played and recorded), Tate (red blooded, incisive), Slatkin (a good, solid recommendation, I just don't find it as interesting now as the first two). The first two are in cheap twofers.

I've enjoyed the first two Boult (mono) CDs and his Lyrita LP with the Scottish NO, but never heard the later of Boult's five versions. There are other inexpensive versions which get good reviews, from Hurst & Handley, which I should hear.

Barbirolli recorded it twice, in 1954 and 1964, both are on EMI: the latter is the more recommendable but the first movement is a tad leisurely - the earlier one perhaps reflects more what a live Barbirolli Elgar 2 sounded like - but the mono sound is not too appealing.

Solti, and to lesser extent Mackerras, perform the work in a manner quite akin to the composer's own urgent interpretation - which is of course available on an EMI CD, certainly worth hearing in surprisingly good sound. Of the two modern versions, I prefer Mackerras, though Tate's is even better.

Of other ones, I'd avoid A. Davis (boring), Previn (not bad but just OK), Sinopoli (bizarrely slow, quite unlike his excellent First).

Post by Scott October 2, 2005 (20 of 63)
akiralx said:

I would rate the best versions as Haitink (grand, powerful, superbly played and recorded), Tate (red blooded, incisive), Slatkin (a good, solid recommendation, I just don't find it as interesting now as the first two). The first two are in cheap twofers.

I've enjoyed the first two Boult (mono) CDs and his Lyrita LP with the Scottish NO, but never heard the later of Boult's five versions. There are other inexpensive versions which get good reviews, from Hurst & Handley, which I should hear.

Barbirolli recorded it twice, in 1954 and 1964, both are on EMI: the latter is the more recommendable but the first movement is a tad leisurely - the earlier one perhaps reflects more what a live Barbirolli Elgar 2 sounded like - but the mono sound is not too appealing.

Solti, and to lesser extent Mackerras, perform the work in a manner quite akin to the composer's own urgent interpretation - which is of course available on an EMI CD, certainly worth hearing in surprisingly good sound. Of the two modern versions, I prefer Mackerras, though Tate's is even better.

Of other ones, I'd avoid A. Davis (boring), Previn (not bad but just OK), Sinopoli (bizarrely slow, quite unlike his excellent First).

Mark Elder and the Halle on the Halle label - a very good performance that does not have the good fortune to be released as an SACD.

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