More vividly performed, Tchaikovsky's Violin Concerto, in D major Op 35 1878 with Julia Fischer as soloist. Lyrical playing, nicely contrasted with the dynamic assertiveness in the orchestra. I enjoyed the way Fischer let her lines slide dizzily downward, as if the instrument were flirting with larger forces.
How I wish commentators and the media would get over describing everything in nationalistic clichés! To some extent it's fair enough to describe things as "Russian" or "English" As shorthand the terms are fair enough, and sometimes do apply, but good music is greater than perceived boundaries. Misplaced nationalism leads to lazy thinking and things far worse. Beware!
Edward Elgar's Enigma Variations Op 32, 1899, don't define "Englishness" whatever that might mean, except by familiar association. The variations describe friends and what they meant to the composer. Of course the work sounds "Elgarian". It's Elgar, with his characteristic warm sweep and expansiveness. "Enigmas" are important in Elgar, but they are just that: "enigmas". For example, in the Rondo to his Second Symphony, Elgar wrote "Venice and Tintagel" which clearly meant a lot to him, and are important to interpretation, but they could mean many different things. It's up to the conductor and listener how deeply one can penetrate. In the Enigma Variations, clues abound, and tantalize. We can't dismiss them but neither should we be trapped by them. The variations are not fixed portraits as such but, rather, the way different friends might comment on a basic theme.
Temirkanov's Enigma Variations were executed with graceful elegance, suggesting the good-natured aspects of the composer's personality. Lovely warm strings, played with the equanimity Elgar so valued. No-one "has" to be English, Russian or come from Mars to get that. Temirkanov and the St Petersbug Philharmonic Orcehstra are good, so they sound good.