Dvorak: Symphony No. 7; Elgar: Enigma Variations

Dvorak: Symphony No. 7; Elgar: Enigma Variations
Pierre Monteux
Catalogue No.

Two beloved Romantic orchestral works in stellar performances, return to the catalogue in beautiful transfers. Pierre Monteux (1875-1964), often bemoaned the fact that he was associated with the French and Russian repertoires to the exclusion of music from outside of those traditions. He could hardly help it; after all, it was Monteux who conducted the first and famously chaotic performance of Stravinsky’s Le Sacre du printemps in 1913. Nevertheless, he recorded all of Beethoven’s symphonies (some of them more than once) and all of Brahms’s, with the exception of the Fourth. He made only one recording of Elgar’s Enigma Variations, and one of the Dvořák Seventh. These came late in his career – 1958 and 1959, respectively – and were the only recordings he made of works by their respective composers. Elgar’s work frequently appeared in the conductor’s concert programs during this ‘Indian summer’. In fact, his last American concerts, in December 1963 with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, featured the Enigma Variations, along with works by Vaughan Williams, Beethoven and Sibelius. In his recording of Dvořák’s Seventh, Monteux is clearly responsive to the symphony’s connections with Brahms – a composer for whom he had special affection.


Symphony No. 7 in D minor, Op. 70

Variations on an Original Theme, Op. 36 ‘Enigma’

London Symphony Orchestra
Pierre Monteu

Recording information

Recording Producers: Michael Bremner (Dvorák); James Walker (Elgar)
Balance Engineer: Kenneth Wilkinson
Recording Location: Kingsway Hall, London, UK, June 1958 (Elgar), October 1959 (Dvorák)


‘great warmth of feeling … The recorded sound is still fresh and vivid … played with plenty of dash and vigour as well as considerable poetic feeling … a wonderfully sympathetic interpretation’ (Dvorak) Gramophone

‘Monteux gives a thoroughly idiomatic and perceptive account of the Enigma Variations and the LSO play marvellously for him. They are extremely well recorded and the stereo is sonorous and detailed’ (Elgar) Gramophone

*** ‘highly distinctive … there is a marvelous freshness about Monteux’s approach – what a remarkably versatile musician he was – and the music is obviously deeply felt. He secures a real pianissimo at the beginning of Nimrod, the playing hardly above a whisper, yet the tension electric.’ (Elgar) Penguin Guide