Elgar: Symphony No 1 in A flat major, Op 55; Cockaigne, Op 40

Reviewed on Mon 16 Mar, 2015

Every composer worth his or her salt brings something new to the listener. The same is true of performers. There is so much imagination and invention in Elgar, which are displayed to great effect in these readings. Vasily Petrenko and his Liverpool orchestra play so finely that we can sit and pay close attention to the Elgarian offering; warmth, attractiveness, waywardness, rich orchestration. All is performed with finesse, enthusiasm, passion and first-rate professionalism. Petrenko is artist enough that I could take for granted the care he's taken. These happy performances will give considerable pleasure. The conductor's view is pretty unfussy, with mere hints that it might be the work of a Russian. I do hope, though, that when he revisits this repertoire in the years ahead, he allows himself or discovers more of the subtleties and even emotion displayed in Elgar's own recordings.
–Ivor Solomons