Kenneth Woods conducts two triumphant premiere recordings of works by Elgar, orchestrated by Donald Fraser: the Piano Quintet with the English Symphony Orchestra, and Sea Pictures for choir and orchestra, with the English Chamber Orchestra and the Rodolfus Choir.
One "of the most exciting events I have experienced during a reviewing career approaching half a century," was the verdict of the Birmingham Post's critic after hearing the premiere performance of Elgar's Piano Quintet in a new orchestration by Donald Fraser, with Kenneth Woods conducting the English Symphony Orchestra.
This version, which was also named a "Premiere of the Year" by Classical Music Magazine, appears in a studio recording alongside Fraser's choral arrangement of Elgar's Sea Pictures with Woods conducting the English Chamber Orchestra and the Rodolfus Choir. Fraser has frequently orchestrated works by Elgar at the behest of individuals and organizations including Yehudi Menuhin and the Elgar Society. These two new arrangements will appeal to orchestras and choirs worldwide, and the recording will spread Elgar's music to yet a wider audience.
“Fraser hasn’t just translated Elgar’s notes into rich and powerful orchestral terms, he has added the kind of touches of colour and splashes of figuration Elgar himself might well have introduced…on its own terms it’s beautifully realised, performed with warmth and understanding, and sympathetically recorded.” BBC Music Magazine
“To my ears Fraser’s richly upholstered orchestration works a treat yet also manages to be astutely appreciative of the simmering passion and sense of loss that permeate this wistful creation…plaudits, too, for Woods’s characteristically lucid and fervent performance with his own English Symphony Orchestra” Gramophone