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April 7, 2019

Charles T. Downey Briefly Noted: Elgar’s ‘Caractacus’

E. Elgar, Caractacus, E. Llewellyn, E. Llŷr Thomas, R. Wood, C. Purves, A. Miles, Orchestra of Opera North, Huddersfield Choral Society, M. Brabbins
(released on March 29, 2019)
Hyperion CDA68254 | 96’17”
Edward Elgar came to wider public attention with the premiere of the Enigma Variations. Leading up to that piece was a series of choral works, mostly about episodes drawn from medieval and

from Ionarts

Freya Parr Five essential works by Grieg


Piano Concerto

Including one of the most famous concerto openings, Grieg’s sole completed work in the genre won Liszt’s admiration.

Recommended recording:
Leif Ove Andsnes; Berlin Philharmonic/Mariss Jansons
EMI 394 3992



Peer Gynt

Grieg’s incidental music to Ibsen’s drama includes two perennial hits – ‘Morning’ and the splendidly menacing ‘In the Hall of the Mountain King’.

Recommended recording:
Royal Philharmonic Orchestra/Thomas Beecham
EMI 965 9342



Lyric Pieces

These unassuming yet haunting pieces sowed the seeds for some of the most revolutionary and forward-looking music of the 20th century.

Recommended recording:
Emil Gilels
DG 449 7212



Holberg Suite

Classical grace appropriately informs this suite in homage to the 18th-century Norwegian-born playwright Ludvig Holberg, born a year before BachHandel and Scarlatti.

Recommended recording:
Norwegian Chamber Orchestra/Terje Tønnesen
BIS CD 147




Grieg’s genius is most evident in his songs, largely inspired by the singing talent of his wife. His song cycle Haugtussa (‘The Mountain Maid’) is one of his greatest works, with strikingly impressionistic piano writing.

Recommended recording:
Katarina Karnéus (mezzo-soprano), Julius Drake (piano)
Hyperion CDA 67670


Jimmy Giuffre

Crossing over from big band swing to country folk to cool abstraction, reedman-composer Jimmy Giuffre (1921-2008) was a fusion pioneer. Geoffrey Smith highlights such Giuffre classics as ‘The Train and River’.

from Geoffrey Smith’s Jazz

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