Felicity Lott / Joseph Middleton / Gould Piano Trio / Schubert Ensemble of London

Elgar in Sussex

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Elgar in Sussex, a 2011 Champs Hill Records album, focuses on some of the many works Elgar composed during his enjoyable time in the English countryside. Chamber music was foremost on Elgar's mind, and following the Op. 82 Violin Sonata and the Op. 83 String Quartet came the Op. 84 Piano Quintet. This performance by the Schubert Ensemble falls a bit flat, not delivering all of the colors and experiences with which Elgar imbued his work. The group's sound gives a decidedly sluggish, unresponsive feeling. Balance favors the violins and the piano's right hand, almost excluding the sound of the viola and cello in most passages. The distant, diffuse recorded sound quality further robs this beautiful work of much of its potential. A change of gears and personnel makes for a delightful set of seven songs -- an atypical genre for Elgar -- taken from both early and mature periods. Soprano Felicity Lott sings with a wonderful purity of tone; the superb balance and clear recorded sound quality with pianist Joseph Middleton make for a memorable listening experience. The final work on the program has three sketches at various degrees of completion that were completed in 2007 by Paul Adrian Rooke. The Gould Piano Trio provides a well-executed, musically satisfying reading in which Rooke admirably captures the spirit and essence of Elgar's mature writing.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
Piano Quintet in A minor, Op. 84
1 14:18
2 12:50
3 10:48
Songs, Op. 16
4 03:02
5 02:42
6 03:40
7 02:45
Grania and Diarmid, Op. 42
8 03:10
Songs, Op. 16
9 01:34
10 03:58
11 07:44
12 06:09
13 04:35
blue highlight denotes track pick