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Chris Morgan
Scene Magazine, March 2014

Between the magnetic power of the music, the charisma of the conductor, and the inspired performance of the BBC Orchestra players, normal humans can only yield and offer up humble gratitude. Awesome. © 2014 Scene Magazine Read complete review

Lawrence Hansen
American Record Guide, March 2014

…if you like Elgar and Bernstein, this is worth every penny you’ll pay for it. © 2014 American Record Guide Read complete review on American Record Guide

James R. Oestreich
The New York Times, December 2013

See the complete New York Times Holiday Gift Guide 2013

The old master conducts a performance of Elgar’s “Enigma” Variations, from 1982, in his first appearance with the BBC Symphony Orchestra, complete with rehearsal excerpts and a brief interview. The rehearsal material is especially entertaining, showing Bernstein wrangling with a trumpeter over a sound he deemed too brassy, and with the concertmaster over a tempo the violinist deemed too fast. (“Are you serious?”) © 2013 The New York Times

John Whitmore
MusicWeb International, November 2013

The performance given at the concert totally belies the troubles encountered during the rehearsals. The orchestral playing is magnificent. There is tremendous detail and clarity to be heard in Bernstein’s interpretation. Some movements are fast and furious and the level of virtuosity displayed, especially by the strings, is incredible. The woodwind players excel throughout. Nimrod is…is superb.

In summary I found this DVD to be in turns thought-provoking, cringe-worthy, entertaining and uplifting. Quite a mix in such a short time-span. © 2013 MusicWeb International Read complete review

David Patrick Stearns
Gramophone, November 2013

…the DVD, more than most of its kind, feels like a personal encounter with the magnetic, unguarded Bernstein. © 2013 Gramophone Read complete review on Gramophone

Hank Zauderer
My Classical Notes, October 2013

During the last few days, I have watched this DVD so many times that I have lost count. And there are two reasons why I keep coming back to watch some more:

1. Edward Elgar was a genius, and he wrote some totally amazing stuff. His “Enigma Variations” is actually a work in which he musically depicts several of his friends and relatives, one per variation on an original theme.

2. Beyond the performance itself, where Bernstein conducts the BBC Symphony for the first time, there is a fascinating rehearsal of Bernstein, who works with the orchestra members to prepare this piece. © 2013 My Classical Notes Read complete review

Philip Clark
Sinfini Music, September 2013

An extreme clash of cultures played out as high psychological drama. The rehearsals get off to an uncomfortable start as Bernstein interrupts the lead violinist’s speech of welcome, but the rot properly sets in when the orchestra realise just how slowly he intends to take Elgar’s theme.

Clearly anyone after stiff-upper-lip Elgar should look elsewhere. Yes, Elgar himself might not have approved of his liberties; but Bernstein palpably feels every note to be right. And sincerity is one thing you can’t fake. © 2014 Sinfini Music Read complete review

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