Order of the Cynthian Palm

About the Elgar Symphony No. 3 -
CD Reviews

Elgar was commissioned by the BBC to write this work which he left in an incomplete state at his death. The composer Anthony Payne was finally commissioned by the Elgar Estate to complete it after many years of controversy.

While all three recordings are described as the sketches for Symphony No. 3 elaborated by Anthony Payne so as to not give the wrong impression, Payne has done as good a job as possible in a difficult task.

Though impossible to say how Elgar himself would have completed the Symphony, the work in its present form has been recorded at least three times already since 1997 when the first recording came out.

This first recording, by Andrew Davis and the BBC Symphony Orchestra is a fine one and also has a separately available companion disk demonstrating exactly how the sketches were converted into a complete work.

But the second recording for Naxos with Paul Daniel conducting the Bournemouth Symphony has, in my opinion, outdone even the first recording in its grasp of the Elgar style and architecture.

The third CD by the other Davis, Colin Davis, is very good though I don't think it's on a level with the other two recordings. It seems rather flat compared, especially, with the Daniel.

Although I have done MIDI sequences of the first two Symphonies, I don't, at this time, have any plans to sequence this one since it is copyright in its present form.

Edward Gold

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