Vasily Petrenko is recognised as one the leading Elgarians of our time and his interpretations of the two completed symphonies with the RLPO have earned praise worldwide from public and critics alike. This CD is the first in a series for ONYX that will contain both symphonies and the other major orchestral works, plus some of the delightful miniatures. Here, the First Symphony is preceded by the sparkling concert overture ‘Cockaigne’ from 1901, composed at a time when the symphony was preoccupying the composer and he was toying with the idea of a work based on the life of General Gordon of Khartoum. This project was abandoned, and the First Symphony was composed in 1907-8 and premiered to great acclaim with over 100 performances in its first year.
Petrenko injects the two Elgar works on this recording with passion and energy, aided by some dynamic playing from the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and a bright, compelling recording quality from the engineers. Gramophone