This new recording of Elgar’s magnificent 2nd symphony is a fascinating one and it is a true statement of the qualities that inform the National Youth Orchestra of Wales. Although they cannot really match the best of orchestras in such demanding repertoire, especially with the plethora of recordings of this symphony around, they give an excellent account of themselves. In the Allegro vivace e nobilmente, the pace is just right with a sizzling conclusion to the coda of the movement. I greatly enjoyed the emotional Larghetto although will still retain my affection for Boult and Barbirolli who remain sine qua non in this particular piece. The Finale has some occasional slipups but is otherwise a tour de force although the recording is somewhat on the dry side. It is also good to have Alun Hoddinott’s Investiture Dances on CD and with this fine reading, I’m sure the work will win many fans. As I already indicated, the recordings are on the dry side but with copious notes and fine presentation, this new version of Elgar’s 2nd should prove to be a winner.

—Gerald Fenech