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  Telarc -
  Elgar: Enigma Variations, Britten: Young Person's Guide - Paavo Järvi
  Britten: Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra Op. 34, Four Sea Interludes from "Peter Grimes" Op. 33a, Elgar: Variations on an Original Theme Op. 36 "Enigma"

Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra
Paavo Järvi (Jarvi) (conductor)
Track listing:
  Classical - Orchestral
Recording type:
Recording info:

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Related titles: 13 show all

Stravinsky - Paavo Järvi        

Reviews: 7 show all

Site review by mwagner1962 September 27, 2006
Performance:   Sonics:  
Okay, I am now trying to decide if I want to buy any future Telarc SACDs with Paavo Jarvi and Cincinnati as I bought this SACD with HIGH hopes. I was hoping for a killer SACD recording of all three pieces and now all I have is a decent SACD recording of Elgar's Enigma Variations.

The Young Person's Guide OVERALL is just plain uninspiring. Sometimes dull, sometimes uninteresting, and there are times where the usually fine Cincinnati Symphony seems almost asleep....maybe the maestro was?? While some of the sectional highlights ARE good, the glorious fugue is anything BUT glorious. This performance is the first ever where I did not almost cry in joy during the ending. VERY SAD.

The Four Sea Interludes is another big disappointment. While there are a few nice moments, once again the performance is just plain uninspiring. I once had a friend who felt that only British orchestras can truly play Britten like it is supposed to be played. And after comparing this new Telarc to my old Chandos redbook CD of The Four Sea Interludes with Vernon Handley and The Ulster Orchestra (especially the "Storm" movement), I wonder if my friend was right??

Finally, the possible saving grace. While not truly outstanding, Paavo Jarvi sort of salvages the recording with a fairly competent reading of Elgar's Enigma Variations. At times the orchestra actually sounds like they are having fun. Strings are especially nice!!!

I am usually a huge fan of the sound on Telarc SACDs but most of the time the sound on this new recording is a big let down. Remember the old days when Telarc took a childish delight in showing us all how loud they can make the bass drums?? Well, get ready for a flashback....timpani are almost as bad in the Britten. To be fair, there are a few times the sound is very fine, especially in the sections that are not so bloody loud, but overall, I overall I feel that this is NOT one of Telarc's OR Cincinnati's best efforts.

Maybe recommended, but with SERIOUS reservations....

Review by pip440 March 29, 2007 (13 of 18 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:  
This is a stunning recording, the closest thing I know to being in a concert hall for a memorable night of music. I delayed in buying this because of the negative comments of some reviewers on this website, but having read David Hurwitz's glowing 10/10 review on the Classics Today website ( I took the plunge. Hurwitz is right! I keep playing the disc over and over: it is my favourite current SACD (of 120). I have known and loved these pieces for years, and they are given brilliant and involving performances here. The sound is incredibly realistic with a rock-solid bass, although I had to reduce the volume setting of my subwoofer. I really cannot fault it. Bravo!

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Review by darkroommd April 24, 2007 (8 of 10 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:    
Normally would not add to an album already with 4 reviews, BUT... Appears to be some debate among us reviewers regarding how fantastic or ordinary these recordings are.

I want to place my vote behind the previous reviewers who have criticized the Britten performance. Indeed, the Young Person's Guide here is entirely mediocre. With this piece, I want to hear excitement and enchantment, suitable to entice the interest of a young listener. Hate to say it, but this is simply an uninteresting reading. The orchestra opens with a nice flourish but quickly fizzles by the time we are hearing each instrument's exposition, and there is no redeeming quality in the typically high-spirited fugue finale. 2.5 STARS for Britten.

We are rewarded somewhat by the Enigma Variations. I would hesitate to call this a great interpretation of this Elgar classic but one that can hold its own. Lovers of the Nimrod Variation will not be disappointed, but I doubt those with a favorite Enigma in his or her collection will have it supplanted here. 4 STARS for Elgar.

Certainly the best thing this SACD has going for it is Telarc. There is not a finer recording job of Britten or Elgar previously. Those who like to audition all 3 audio modes (RBCD, SACD stereo, and SACD surround) will especially appreciate the dramatic improvement in the surround mix. (In fact, this will be my new standard disc for demonstrating SACD's superiority over RBCD to friends.) Only criticism is some heaviness in the bass at times.

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Works: 3  

Benjamin Britten - Four Sea Interludes, Op. 33a
Benjamin Britten - Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra, Op. 34
Edward Elgar - Variations on an Original Theme, Op. 36 "Enigma"