Elgar: Symphonies Nos. 1 & 2; Sea Pictures; Cockaigne

Elgar: Symphonies Nos. 1 & 2; Sea Pictures; Cockaigne
Della Jones; Charles Mackerras
Catalogue No.

Charles Mackerras’ grand readings of the Elgar symphonies, magnificently recorded, make a welcome return to the catalogue.


Symphony No. 1 in A flat major, Op. 55
Overture Cockaigne, Op. 40
Symphony No. 2 in E flat major, Op. 63+
Sea Pictures, Op. 37*+

Della Jones, mezzo soprano*
London Symphony Orchestra
Royal Philharmonic Orchestra+
Charles Mackerras


‘[The First Symphony’s] structure and especially its orchestration, so marvellously luminous and poetic, are clearly foremost in the conductor’s mind, so that this is always a very musical interpretation, lucidly presented and shaped … The main part of the [finale] is splendidly forthright, underlining Elgar’s ‘massive hope for the future’ … a sparkling Cockaigne’ Gramophone

‘Here is an Elgar Second of exciting thrust and considerable interpretative flair. Mackerras’s way with the first movement is charismatically propulsive in the Elgar/Solti manner …Throughout, Andrew Cornall’s superbly well-lit Walthamstow Assembly Hall production serves up a feast for the ears, with wonderfully ripe RPO horns cutting through Elgar’s kaleidoscopic textures to often revelatory effect, and in those great waves of sound that punctuate the finale … I also much enjoyed Della Jones’s vividly projected technically immaculate performance of the Sea Pictures. In the third and fifth songs especially her exemplary diction really brings a newly minted freshness to these almost operatic settings, and Mackerras certainly extracts maximum drama from Elgar’s masterly, subtly-coloured orchestral backcloth’ Gramophone

Mackerras’s superb performance is the most bitingly passionate reading since Elgar’s own … The Cockaigne Overture, brilliantly done with high contrasts and incisive attack, makes a generous and welcome fill-up’ ***Penguin Guide to CDs

‘An idiomatic feel for Elgarian rubato [Symphony No. 2] … Della Jones gives a commanding performance of the Sea Pictures’ Penguin Guide to CDs