In this concert, recorded on June 11 in City Halls Glasgow and broadcast on June 28 from 7.30 p.m., the thirty-year relationship between Martyn Brabbins and the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra was celebrated.
It concluded with a magnificent account of Elgar’s First (Brabbins’s BBC Scottish debut had included Nielsen Five). Having already recorded one of the finest Enigma Variations in the catalogue, https://www.classicalsource.com/cd/martyn-brabbins-conducts-elgar-in-the-south-hyperion/, it was perhaps no surprise that Brabbins should be so insightful regarding this great Symphony, played superbly by his long-term colleagues together with musicians from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.
The opening was ideally semplice yet glowing, the main Allegro spacious yet directionally lucid within subtle ebbs and flows, impassioned and detailed, too, followed by a Scherzo quite deliberate in tempo if retaining fire and militaristic edge with the yielding into the Adagio sensitively handled, the slow movement itself deeply eloquent, never indulged yet so expressive and emerging from within, heartfelt, becoming a pianissimo-conscious rapturous reverie in the concluding minutes. And the Finale was structured to encompass all that happens en route to a resounding coda, grand but not pompous.
Brabbins recorded Elgar One back in 2006 with the Flemish Radio Orchestra for Glossa (coincidentally I wrote the booklet note) so maybe its time for him to re-record the work, as well as ‘firsts’ for No.2 and Anthony Payne’s elaboration of the sketches for Symphony 3. He conducts both. Hyperion?
Aldeburgh Festival 2022 – Martyn Brabbins conducts BBC National Orchestra of Wales in Grace Williams’s Sea Sketches & Britten’s Suite on English Folk Tunes – ‘A Time There Was…’, and the premiere of Gavin Higgins’s The Faerie Bride/Marta Fontanals-Simmons & Roderick Williams [live BBC Radio 3 broadcast].