Britten: 4 Sea Interludes; The Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra; Elgar: Enigma Variations

Paavo Järvi

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Britten: 4 Sea Interludes; The Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra; Elgar: Enigma Variations Review

by James Leonard

Many have argued that Paavo Järvi is a more talented and more accomplished conductor than his father Neeme. That may or may not be the case -- his baton technique may exceed him and his taste as an interpreter all but certainly surpasses his father's, but his control of the orchestra may not quite match his father's. One thing that is evident: the Järvis père or fils share a wonderful knack for choosing repertoire. In this 2006 Telarc recording with the Cincinnati Symphony, Paavo has coupled two excellent pieces by Benjamin Britten -- his Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra and Four Sea Interludes from Peter Grimes -- and one splendid piece by Edward Elgar -- his Variations on an Original Theme (aka the "Enigma" Variations). As disc mates, this works marvelously well: Britten's witty but slightly ironic style complementing Elgar's heartfelt but slightly nervous style. As performances, this works nearly as well. When the music is purely descriptive, as in much of the Young Person's Guide, all of the Four Sea Interludes, and portions of the "Enigma" Variations, Järvi's performances are as good as the best, with vibrant colors, clear representations, and compelling narratives. When the music is more purely emotional as in the justly famous "Nimrod" variation, Järvi's interpretation falls short, leaving the music's emotional depths unsounded. Still, Järvi is a persuasive conductor, the Cincinnati plays with energy, skill, and dedication, Telarc's sound is rich, lush, and full, and ultimately, these recordings are almost completely convincing, albeit not perhaps quite in the same league as Boult, Barbirolli, or Previn.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra (Variations and Fugue on a Theme of Purcell), for speaker ad lib & orchestra, Op. 34
1 Paavo Järvi 00:23
2 Paavo Järvi 00:24
3 Paavo Järvi 00:19
4 Paavo Järvi 00:18
5 Paavo Järvi 00:16 Amazon
6 Paavo Järvi 00:25
7 Paavo Järvi 00:27 Amazon
8 Paavo Järvi 01:06 Amazon
9 Paavo Järvi 00:44
10 Paavo Järvi 00:59 Amazon
11 Paavo Järvi 00:36
12 Paavo Järvi 00:54 Amazon
13 Paavo Järvi 01:10
14 Paavo Järvi 01:04 Amazon
15 Paavo Järvi 00:45
16 Paavo Järvi 00:46
17 Paavo Järvi 00:32 Amazon
18 Paavo Järvi 01:06
19 Paavo Järvi 01:53
20 Paavo Järvi 03:00 Amazon
Sea Interludes (4) from Peter Grimes, for orchestra, Op. 33a
21 Paavo Järvi 03:49
22 Paavo Järvi 03:40
23 Paavo Järvi 04:23
24 Paavo Järvi 04:56
Enigma Variations, for orchestra, Op. 36
25 Paavo Järvi 01:37
26 Paavo Järvi 01:50
27 Paavo Järvi 00:51
28 Paavo Järvi 01:22
29 Paavo Järvi 00:30
30 Paavo Järvi 02:17
31 Paavo Järvi 01:14
32 Paavo Järvi 00:56
33 Paavo Järvi 02:00
34 Paavo Järvi 04:20
35 Paavo Järvi 02:31
36 Paavo Järvi 01:01
37 Paavo Järvi 03:07
38 Paavo Järvi 02:45
39 Paavo Järvi 05:36
blue highlight denotes track pick