Edward Gardner's 2017 audiophile release on Chandos explores two of Sir Edward Elgar's most admired works, the Introduction and Allegro for string quartet and string orchestra, and the Symphony No. 1 in A flat major. Gardner and the BBC Symphony Orchestra are joined by the Doric String Quartet in the Introduction and Allegro, which was modeled on the Baroque concerto grosso form and intended to be a showpiece for the strings of the newly formed London Symphony Orchestra. While it received comparatively few performances in its early years, it has become a concert staple with the dramatically improved skills of modern orchestral string sections. This performance amply demonstrates the wide expressive and technical range of the BBC Symphony and the brilliance of the Doric String Quartet, which maintains interest throughout with its refined playing and polished sonorities. The Symphony No. 1, which was roughly contemporary with the previous work, was immediately popular with audiences and has become one of the best-loved symphonies in the repertoire. Here, Gardner and the BBC Symphony deliver an expansive and richly detailed performance that shows off the orchestra in a transparent multichannel recording that has extraordinary depth and dynamic range, and astonishing clarity. While many listeners will already have a favorite recording from the past, this hybrid SACD is highly recommended because Gardner brings out every facet of the score with precision, vibrant colors, and deep feeling.
AllMusic Review by Blair Sanderson
|Introduction and Allegro, Op. 47 for String Quartet and String Orchestra|
|Symphony No. 1, Op. 55|
I. Andante. Nobilmente e semplice – Allegro – Poco meno mosso – Poco più mosso – Tempo I – (Poco animato) – Grandioso (Tempo I) – Meno mosso – Poco più mosso – Tempo I – Poco meno mosso