This is a welcome recording of Bax's underrated Spring Fire symphony which has rarely seen a recording, the most recent being Bryden Thomson on Chandos in the late 1980's. Elder's version benefits from some fine recording balance and is of similar intensity with imaginative orchestral playing and superb power in selected passages.
The Delius works are also not very widely known especially the Idyll and this receives suitably romantic account from Elder and his Hallé forces although the Beecham recording still holds pride of place. "The March of Spring" is also very dreamy and beautiful especially in its concluding section. Elder is also a dab hand at Frank Bridge's expansive Enter Spring, probably his finest work although I still retain fond affection for the late Sir Charles Groves' recording on EMI which was my introduction to the piece.
As hinted at previously, the Hallé sound is true top quality throughout and with detailed notes on the works, this is an essential addition to the growing Hallé British music collection.
Copyright © 2011, Gerald Fenech