Elgar Remastered | Somm SOMMCD2614

Elgar Remastered

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Label: Somm

Cat No: SOMMCD2614

Format: CD

Number of Discs: 4

Release Date: 29th July 2016

Contents

About

A unique opportunity awaits the musician and listener with an interest in historical performance, and Elgar's Cello Concerto in particular. Our new release makes available to you on a four-CD set, valuable pressings from Sir Edward Elgar's personal library. It contains hitherto unheard discs - virtually the complete 1928 studio sessions of the Cello Concerto as well as many unused takes of major orchestral works and famous miniatures. This veritable Aladdin's Chest belongs to Arthur Reynolds, a keen collector of original Elgar recordings and photographs. The only person allowed access to Elgar's library was the musician and master recording engineer of historic reissues, Lani Spahr.

Miraculously, Lani discovered that various HMV sessions were possibly recorded with a completely separate microphone/cutter arrangement. These double sets of discs were identified by their matrix numbers and after countless hours of painstaking work he was able to, in many instances, synchronize the various sides into a stereo image. We now not only have an insight into the sessions themselves but we are now provided with astonishing sound, revealing a new depth not only to the existing issued recordings, but to new performances of various miniatures and, more importantly, the Cello Concerto and Symphony No.1 assembled from previously unheard test pressings.

Reviews

The electrical recordings of the late 1920s are ... glorious interpretations which reveal [Elgar] as a passionate and intense conductor. This latest set takes the story deeper by remastering unused takes from major recordings. Lani Spahr is the technical genius behind the project, and explains in daunting detail the “accidental stereo” created by the microphones. There are many versions of parts of the Cello Concerto and other smaller works, while the sheer impact of the First Symphony in all its cleaned-up detail is overwhelming.  Nicholas Kenyon
The Observer 31 July 2016
... the end products, as realised by Lani Spahr, border on the miraculous. Good as the familiar mono recordings are, hearing the opening of the Cello Concerto in Spahr's beautifully engineered stereo sound is rather like picking up an old sepia photograph and seeing it suddenly acquire colour. ... What Spahr has achieved in his version of the First Symphony, based on previously unreleased alternative takes..., is hardly less impressive. So many details – tiny touches of scoring, expression in inner voices – stand out as never before.  Stephen Johnson (Orchestral Choice)
BBC Music Magazine December 2016

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