STRAUSS, BRAHMS, ELGAR Philharmonic Hall; REVIEW

Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England), May 17, 2013 | Go to article overview
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STRAUSS, BRAHMS, ELGAR Philharmonic Hall; REVIEW


Byline: Joe Riley

THE composer Edward Elgar''s Merseyside connections were many - not least his long friendship with the businessman A E Rodewald - to whom he dedicated his first Pomp and Circumstance March.

Rodewald directed that premiere in Liverpool in 1901.

But two years earlier, Elgar himself conducted the second performance of what was to become an even greater and far more profound testament - his Enigma Variations - at a concert in New Brighton Tower ballroom.

Ever since, the collective miniature portraits of himself, his wife, friends, and even a friend''s bulldog. have become the quintessential mood music of the late Victorian, early Edwardian concert hall.

What the most renowned music critic of the day, Ernest Newman (Liverpool-born and once a bank clerk in Old Hall Street!) called Elgar''s "sunset mood."

" Not in terms of longevity - Elgar lived until 1934 - but in portraying an already nostalgic ease at the inevitable future demise of an empire which then included a third of the world's population.

The conductor Alexander Shelley adopted a somewhat laconic approach, despite the enthusiasm of roaring horns and deafening timpani, beside which the climax of ubiquitously popular Nimrod seemed strangely levelled and slightly anaemic.

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