Thursday, 16 June 2011

Howard Ferguson & Edward Elgar

I was browsing in a second-hand bookshop ‘somewhere in England’ last night when I came across a little gem. Now, I think I have Sir Edward Elgar’s Concerto for Violin and Orchestra in my collection of miniature scores. However, imagine my delight to find a copy that had been given to Howard Ferguson by a Dutch friend in 1933. It even has the composer's 'stamp' on the front cover.

The price of this little gem was a mere £3.50 having been reduced from £7! Apart from a little foxing on the cover it is a good clean editon.

So, to celebrate my ‘find’, I listened to the Concerto when I got home – in the early Nigel Kennedy version with the London Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Vernon Handley.

Just in case anyone has forgotten how good this version is, I can do no better than quite Edward Greenfield writing in The Gramophone in 1984, “As it is, no Elgarian should miss [this] performance which... has amazed me with its command. It is always exciting when a young artist fulfils on record the promise of his early career. For Kennedy this record presents a landmark, plainly establishing ... how naturally and richly his expressiveness blossoms under the taxing conditions of the studio.” The Gramophone December 1984

Listen to this great performance on EMI: it can be downloaded as an MP3

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