SOMM RECORDINGS is delighted to announce Elgar from America, Volume II: the first commercial release of three historic performances from 1940s’ New York featuring legendary Elgarian interpreters including violinist Yehudi Menuhin and conductors Malcolm Sargent and Arturo Toscanini at the helm of the NBC Symphony Orchestra.
The results offer a fascinating transatlantic perspective on a titan of British music while revealing his musical legacy in a country he visited annually from 1905-07 and again in 1911.
The featured recordings date from the first half of the 1940s and have been restored and remastered by the multi-award-winning audio restoration engineer Lani Spahr, who also provides informative booklet notes.
Menuhin, long associated with Elgar since his 1932 recording of the Violin Concerto, is heard here in a 1945 performance of the work, abbreviated to fit radio constraints of time. It is conducted by Sargent who also leads an account of Cockaigne (In London Town) Concert-Overture from the same year.
Toscanini’s 1940 performance of the Introduction and Allegro for Strings marks the only time he conducted it with the NBC SO, joined here by Mischa Mischakoff and Edwin Bachmann violins, Carlton Cooley viola, Frank Miller cello.
Elgar from America, Volume I (ARIADNE 5005) was hailed by Classical Music Daily as “a fine start to this historic cycle” while MusicWeb International called it “a model of one of the things the CD should be doing: filling the medium to capacity with engaging and/or controversial interpretations that one cannot simply over-hear… Essential listening.”
Lani Spahr’s previous restorations of historic Elgar recordings for SOMM Recordings include Elgar Rediscovered (SOMMCD 0167) and the four-disc set Elgar Remastered (SOMMCD 261-4) which featured recordings from the composer’s own collection and was hailed by Audiophilia as “a fascinating achievement which will have you wishing for more”.
On This Recording
- Cockaigne (In London Town) Concert-Overture, Op.40 a
- Introduction and Allegro for Strings, Op.47 b
- Allegro molto
Violin Concerto in B minor, Op.61 c
a Malcolm Sargent, Radio City Studio 8H, New York on February 18, 1945
b Arturo Toscanini, Mischa Mischakoff, Edwin Bachmann violins, Carlton Cooley viola, Frank Miller cello, Radio City Studio 8H, New York on April 20, 1940
c Yehudi Menuhin, Malcolm Sargent, Radio City Studio 8H, New York on February 25, 1945
“Menuhin delivers an impassioned performance with a remarkable full sound undoubtedly enhanced by the limpid re-mastering by audio restoration engineer Lani Spahr. The playing in the violin concerto and in the other two compositions that fill the album is sweepingly grand, boldly broad, and typical of the style that was the trademark of both the NBC Symphony Orchestra and of the 29 year old Yehudi Menuhin, a masterful violinist already at the peak of his powers.” —Rafael de Acha, Music Notes
“This is the second volume released by Somm entitled ‘Elgar from America’, featuring significant performances recorded live in New York venues, in restorations by Lani Spahr. … These valuable historical audio documents receive the best possible restorations from Lani Spahr, who has also provided the excellent accompanying liner notes, which give some background and context to these recordings. As an Honorary Member of the Elgar Society, Spahr’s dedication and skill must be lauded as a true labour of love.” —Stephen Greenbank, MusicWeb International
“ This is another historically valuable slice of New York concert life, well preserved and excellently restored. … It preserves…a performance by one of the work’s very finest interpreters.” —Jonathan Woolf, MusicWeb International