Critical comment on the recording of the Second Symphony:
Elgar’s Second Symphony blossoms in the hands of Richard Hickox and the BBC National Orchestra of Wales.
Classic FM Magazine ‘Disc of the month’ CHSA 5038
Hickox and the BBC NOW follow their Elgar Second with this impressive No. 1, in many ways even finer. The SACD recording is spectacular; you really appreciate the sharpness of articulation of the Cardiff players. Next to this, Hadley’s benchmark CfP recording, lacks a little in focus and clarity, and even the brilliant Solti Decca recording can’t quite match it. …The generous coupling adds to the attractions of the disc, an orchestration, pioneered on disc by Handley, of a work which should be far better known. The qualities which make Hickox’s reading of the Symphony so impressive come out here too, crowning an outstanding new issue.
Gramophone Editor's Choice
The sound on the multi-channel SACD layer is specially impressive here, burgeoning luxuriously in Elgar’s invitingly sumptuous climaxes. It also powerfully registers the volleys of percussion in the preceding allegro molto movement.
BBC Music Magazine
Hickox steers a distinctive course through Elgar’s elegiac Second..bringing out the glory of Elgar’s orchestral imagination.
Gramophone on CHSA 5038
Anyone seeking a fine performance with up-to-date engineering will find this new Chandos release a solid choice, far more persuasive to my ears that the widely praised Colin Davis/LSO version.
Richard Hickox is one of Britain’s leading Elgar interpreters, so it’s surprising he has not recorded the First Symphony until now. This performance has many of the same outstanding qualities as his account of the Second Symphony with the BBC NOW that appeared on Chandos two years ago, especially the wonderful sense of coherence that Hickox gives to the whole span of the four movements, his ability to integrate every section of the outer movements into a convincing whole, and the lustrous orchestral playing.