ELGAR Enigma Variations; Pomp and Circumstance Marches – Boult
Plenty of Enigma recordings have been added to the catalogue since 1970 when this Boult recording was made, but none has surpassed it in authority and fidelity. Just listen to the clarity of detail in the ''C. A. E.'' variation—nothing overdone, but so many little touches that give this familiar music a freshness that projects its originality. There is also a slightly elegiac feel to the phrasing here as if Boult, no sentimentalist, was nevertheless aware that his Enigma days must inevitably be numbered. Yet the faster variations have the vitality and brio that one might expect from a younger conductor. The LSO's performance is excellent and the recording too.
For the complete set of Pomp and Circumstance Marches the orchestra is the London Philharmonic. These are also conducted and performed with zest, notably No. 2 which at this pace would have a platoon of soldiers panting for breath before it was half over. Sir Adrian was, after all, a keen walker and had a long stride!'