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concert Leonard Bernstein conducts Elgar's Enigma Variations BBC Symphony Orchestra

BBC Symphony Orchestra

Leonard Bernstein conducts Elgar's Enigma Variations BBC Symphony Orchestra


The enigma of genius.

Leonard Bernstein's only engagement with the BBC Symphony Orchestra took place in April 1982. It was a troubled time for Great Britain, with the long-running dispute over the Falkland Islands transformed into open war by the Argentinian invasion earlier in the month: the all-out military response ordered by Mrs Thatcher was still to come (a naval task force was on its way to the South Atlantic) when Bernstein conducted this concert at the Royal Festival Hall on 14 April. A few days later, he referred with withering sarcasm to the jingoist spirit of Elgar's patriotic music when (without preliminary rehearsal) he recorded two of the Pomp and Circumstance Marches as fillers to his CD recording of the 'Enigma' Variations, later issued on Deutsche Grammophon.

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  • Edward Elgar, Enigma Variations, Op. 36
    • Theme (Andante)
    • Variation I (L'istesso tempo) "C.A.E."
    • Variation II (Allegro) "H.D.S.-P."
    • Variation III (Allegretto) "R.B.T."
    • Variation IV (Allegro di molto) "W.M.B."
    • Variation V (Moderato) "R.P.A."
    • Variation VI (Andantino) "Ysobel"
    • Variation VII (Presto) "Troyte"
    • Variation VIII (Allegretto) "W.N."
    • Variation IX (Adagio) "Nimrod"
    • Variation X (Intermezzo: Allegretto) "Dorabella"
    • Variation XI (Allegro di molto) "G.R.S."
    • Variation XII (Andante) "B.G.N."
    • Variation XIII (Romanza: Moderato) "* * *"
    • Variation XIV (Finale: Allegro Presto) "E.D.U."


  • Directed by:
    • Peter Butler
  • Venue: Royal Festival Hall (London, Great Britain)
  • Production date: 2013
  • Recording date: 14 April 1982
  • Duration: 39 min
  • Production: © 2013 BBC, under licence to International Classical Artists Ltd. Licensed courtesy of BBC Worldwide
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