Label : EMI
Format : WV
Cover : Yes

Like Sony’s Stravinsky set, this Elgar set from EMI seems to want to challenge the Brilliant Classics label by providing lots of music for little money. This costs more than the Stravinsky, but you get 30 cds here as opposed to the 22 in the Stravinsky set. On the average, you are paying $2 a disc, as opposed to the seperate issues listed on Amazon that are going for about $20 in some instances.
What about the performances? I have many of these works already in my collection and most are digital recordings. Two are bonafide classics: Jaqueline du Pre’s Cello Concerto and Janet Baker’s Sea Pictures. Problem is, many people might already have these already-this remastering was in 2004 and released as a “Great Recordings of the Century” for $12.98. Most of the orchestral works are conducted by Sir John Barbirolli. The symphonies are impressive, but I can think of better ones to use as supplements-Solti, Previn, Colin Davis and George Hurst in No.1 and Solti, Previn, Downes in No.2. Barbirolli’s interpretations are rather mellower than the ones listed above and I feel that one should get to know these works through their recordings first. The smaller works fare better: Introduction and Allegro, Elegy, Sospiri, Cockaigne Overture, Serenade in E Minor. Falstaff and Froissart come in competition with Simon Rattle on EMI and Mark Elder on the Halle Orchestra’s label. The Enigma Variations and Pomp and Circumstance Marches will be much appreciated for those who like the old school way of performing these works. Also note that the Barbirolli recordings are analog stereo and the quality varies from work to work.

CD 01 – Symphony No. 1 in A flat Op. 55
CD 02 – Symphony No. 2 in E flat Op. 63
CD 03 – Falstaff: Symphonic Study in C minor Op. 68
CD 04 – Variations on an Original Theme “Enigma” Op. 36
CD 05 – Sea Pictures Op. 37
CD 06 – Violin Sonata in E minor Op. 82
CD 07 – Nursery Suite
CD 08 – Organ Sonata in G Op. 28 (orch. Gordon Jacob)
CD 09 – Three Bavarian Dances
CD 10 – Piano Sonata No. 2 in B flat minor Op. 35 (orch. Elgar)
CD 11 – Dream Children – Two pieces for small orchestra Op. 43
CD 12 – Piano Quintet in A minor Op. 84
CD 13 – The Dream of Gerontius Op. 38, Part I
CD 14 – The Dream of Gerontius Op. 38, Part II
CD 15 – The Apostles Op. 49, Part 1
CD 16 – The Apostles Op. 49, Part 2
CD 17 – The Kingdom Op. 51
CD 18 – The Kingdom Op. 51
CD 19 – The Light of Life (Lux Christi) Op. 29
CD 20 – The Black Knight Op. 25
CD 21 – Scenes from The Saga of King Olaf Op. 30
CD 22 – Caractacus Op. 35, Scene I
CD 23 – Caractacus Op. 35, Scene III
CD 24 – The Banner of St George Op. 33
CD 25 – The Spirit of England Op. 80
CD 26 – Te Deum and Benedictus Op. 34
CD 27 – The Music Makers Op. 69
CD 28 – The Starlight Express – Incidental Music Op. 78
CD 29 – Scenes from the Bavarian Highlands Op. 27
CD 30 – Sonata for Organ in G major, Op. 28

Complete tracklist : Edward Elgar – The Collector’s Edition