This is Sir John Barbirolli's last emotional recording of the Elgar 1st, one of his favourite works and most certainly a 'heart-on-sleeve' performance of the utmost quality.
Indeed, Barbirolli was to die just a month later but the performance here is full of life and vitality that demonstrates the conductor's love of the work.
The interpretation of the Introduction and Allegro is also of top notch quality with the Hallé strings playing at their best for their much loved conductor.
But it is in the symphony that Barbirolli shows such an intrinsic love for a work that was always known as his perennial favourite. It compares well to the conductor's other two recordings of the work and the live atmosphere makes it even more electrifying.
It is obvious that this disc will be on the shopping list of all Barbirolli enthusiasts and Elgar lovers should also grab a copy of music making that is probably gone for ever.
Copyright © 2003, Gerald Fenech