C0552. EDWARD ELGAR Cond. London S.O.: Symphony #2 in E-flat, recorded 1927; EDWARD ELGAR Cond. New S.O., w.BEATRICE HARRISON: Cello Concerto in e (both Cond. by the Composer), recorded 1928. (E.U.) Naxos 8.111260. Transfers by Mark Obert-Thorn. Very long out-of-print, Final Sealed Copy! - 74313326020
“Both performances are filled with pulsing life, the tempos flexible as was the custom then – and ought to be today in music of this vintage. These have been much-loved recordings in the UK since their original issue.”
- David Radcliffe, AMERICAN RECORD GUIDE, Sept. / Oct., 2007
“Beatrice Harrison’s development was meteoric. She was second of four prodigiously talented sisters: May, Beatrice, Margaret, and Monica. Their early musical studies were supervised by their firebrand of a mother, Annie Harrison. Annie was a talented amateur singer and pianist, and perhaps because she was not able to pursue a musical career herself, mobilized all of her family’s resources to the careers of her children as professional musicians. One of the most fascinating windows into the Harrison family’s lives are their practice journals. The girls were expected to keep meticulous records to document every hour of every day’s productivity. Annie’s devotion and tenacity paid off. Beatrice received exceptional training at the Royal College of Music, the Frankfurt Hoch Conservatory, and the Hochschule für Musik in Berlin. While studying with the famous German cello pedagogue Hugo Becker (1863-1941), she won the Mendelssohn Prize at age seventeen.
In their early 20s, Beatrice and her elder sister May Harrison toured Europe and Russia performing the Brahms Concerto for Violin and Cello some fifty-nine times. During their travels, they met Gabriel Fauré, Sergei Rachmaninov, Alexander Glazunov, Gustav Holst, and David Popper. The Harrison sisters also brushed shoulders with the world’s political elite including European royalty, Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt, and in England, King George V and his sister Princess Victoria.
Beatrice became close friends with Princess Victoria, so close, that it was Princess Victoria who paid for Harrison’s beloved cello, the great ‘Pietro Guarnieri’. In August 1928 HMV made some private recordings for the Princess.
Harrison’s greatest claims to fame straddle two different sides of the music world during the 1920s. Today, Harrison’s legacy endures for her recordings of the Elgar Cello Concerto recorded under the baton of Sir Edward Elgar himself. She was his preferred cellist for the concerto and he credited her for popularizing it after its disastrous premiere. They first recorded it together in 1919 and 1920 by the old acoustic process. A new recording was made by the electric process on 23rd March 1928 where two turntables were recording simultaneously. Using modern digital technology, these two recordings made at the same session have been combined to create a new stereo version. It also stands as the most accurate representation of what Elgar intended his famous concerto to express."
- Chas Helge, 9 Aug., 2019