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Classical - Released February 3, 2017 | Halle Concerts Society

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 4 étoiles Classica
This album in Hallé’s series of recordings of works by Elgar couples his last great choral work, the largely overlooked The Spirit of England, with a fascinating collection of works which similarly remember the departed. Thematically linked to The Dream of Gerontius, the work sets texts from WWI poets and was premiered in sections during 1916 and 1917. In tone it is close to the melancholy of the Cello Concerto; and Britten referred to its music as displaying “personal tenderness and grief” as well as “genuine splendour”. Next, Elgar’s melodrama A Voice in the Wilderness movingly depicts the contrasting moods of the desolate and subdued Western Front by night and the soaring, aspiring lines by Belgian poet Emile Cammaerts, in the original English translation offered by the poet’s own English wife. Narration alternates with lines sung by the soprano voice, hence the term « melodrama ». The remaining two works on the album present works inspired by Irish literature. Grania and Diarmid was a play based on tales of Irish mythology. Elgar’s music for the play, a story of tragic entangled love, was described by playright W.B. Yeats as “wonderful in its heroic melancholy”. Bax’s rarely performed orchestral work In Memoriam is subtitled ‘An Irish Elegy’. It reflects the composer’s passionate interest in, and love for, Ireland, her literature and her tragic early twentieth century history – including the Easter Rising of April 1916 and the subsequent execution of some of its leaders which deeply shocked Bax who, though English-born, spent most of his adult life in Ireland. The resultant music contrasts angry outbursts with more mellow episodes featuring melody of profound sadness and lyricism.
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Classical - Released August 3, 2018 | Mezzoforte

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Classical - Released May 5, 2003 | Halle Concerts Society

Elgar's Enigma Variations, Cockaigne Overture, and Serenade for Strings have been recorded extremely often, but rarely any better than they are here by Mark Elder and Hallé -- Manchester's rebranded Hallé Orchestra. They truly capture the essence of the fin de siècle English master, offering both spit and polish and élan. Elder emerges as a terrific interpreter, delivering a kaleidoscopic and emotionally ranging Variations. Almost as good is his spirited account of the Serenade with a playful opening Allegro piacevole and an affecting central Larghetto. But best of all, perhaps, is Elder's swaggering Cockaigne, with its impetuous themes, sparkling colors, and glorious climax. As a bonus, the release includes the world-premiere recording of the Variations' original Finale, which differs from the definitive version only in that it doesn't include the coda. While the published version is far more successful, the dedicated Elgarian will want to at least hear the master's first thoughts. © TiVo
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Classical - Released April 4, 2011 | Warner Classics

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Classical - Released June 1, 2009 | Signum Records

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Classical - Released May 27, 2016 | Avie Records

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Transcriptions of all kinds were common in the pre-recording era, but they usually went in the direction of making a large work suitable for use in the home or some other smaller venue, not in the direction of enlargement as occurs here. The orchestration of the Piano Quintet in A minor, Op. 84, though, is of a type not unheard of; Schoenberg orchestrated the Brahms Piano Quartet No. 1 in G minor, Op. 25, in 1937. Indeed, the Elgar Piano Quintet, a work whose reputation seems to be on the rise, fares well in the orchestration by Donald Fraser. Sample the slow movement (track 2), with one of those noble Elgar melodies that makes the British roll over and put their paws in the air and is likely to give other nationalities a pretty mellow time as well. The version of Sea Pictures, Op. 37, is perhaps another matter. It is an orchestral work to begin with, so Fraser has not so much orchestrated it as re-orchestrated it. The contralto or mezzo-soprano soloist is replaced by a choir, with the harmonies filled in by some of the original orchestral parts. What's left in the orchestra is a pared-down pairing of orchestra and solo string group. This makes a substantially different impression from the original, and it's hard to argue that the work is improved. The booklet points to an increased emphasis on melodic unity, but that unity in the original has the orchestral variety as a counterweight. The singing of the Rodolfus Choir is gorgeously rich, and it may be that the legions who love the Sea Pictures will enjoy this variation. Avie's Abbey Road studio sound is near ideal: clear and warm. Recommended. © TiVo
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Classical - Released December 3, 2012 | Signum Records

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Classical - Released March 1, 2000 | Cembal d'amour CD 111

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Classical - Released October 10, 2007 | Onyx Classics

In its way, this is as fine a recording of Elgar's Violin Concerto as has ever been made. As befits this intensely romantic work, its way is passionate, intimate, and persuasive. But, as befits the intensely reticent composer, it is also restrained, reserved, and objective. In other words, don't expect the emotional displays of violinists like Menuhin, Perlman, or Zukerman in this performance by young Canadian violinist James Ehnes. While his technique is immensely impressive -- there's nothing in this enormously difficult work he can't play with ease and assurance -- it is Ehnes' interpretation that really makes his recording stand out. Like the composer who famously hid his emotions behind riddles and enigmas, and the work that manifestly wears its heart on its sleeve even as it holds back from complete surrender, Ehnes does not reveal his heart in this performance but rather reveals the music's heart, letting Elgar's artistry speak for itselfe. Accompanied by the seasoned Andrew Davis leading the venerable Philharmonia Orchestra, Ehnes turns in a performance that, in its almost understated way, demands to be heard by anyone who loves the work. As a filler, Davis and the Philharmonia add a suave but very sentimental reading of Elgar's Serenade for Strings. Recorded in part in performance and in part in rehearsals, Onyx's digital sound is a bit heavy and a tad distant, but still clear enough and quite lush. © TiVo
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Classical - Released May 24, 2014 | The Digital Gramophone

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Classical - Released February 10, 2015 | Cobra Entertainment LLC

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Classical - Released May 30, 2007 | Avie Records

If you love -- really, really, really love -- composer Edward Elgar and his music, you'll have to hear this two-disc set. Called Songs & Piano Music by Edward Elgar, it has several important and unique features. First, all the accompaniments are performed on the composer's own 1844 Broadwood Square Piano, which naturally lends an air of palpable authenticity to every work. Second, it contains among its 34 individual pieces four world-premiere recordings ranging from the very early "As I laye a-thynkynge" to the very late "XTC" and from the massive transcription of the Prelude and "Angel's Farewell" from The Dream of Gerontius to the slender sketch of "?," Elgar's first idea of what later became his cello concerto. Third, it includes the song cycle Sea Pictures in its original keys and accompanied only by the piano. Finally, it has tremendously committed performances by all concerned, from pianist David Owen Norris through soprano Amanda Pitt, tenor Mark Wilde, and baritone Peter Savidge to the tiny male chorus of Mark Bamping, William Houghton, and Edward Whiffin. Some might object that the Broadwood, for all its undoubted authenticity, is tinny and slightly out of tune, while others might complain that much of the music is early and quite uncharacteristic of the mature composer. But anyone who loves -- really, really, really loves -- the composer and his music will be champing at the bit to get ahold of this disc. Avie's digital sound is a tad distant, but still clear and evocative. © TiVo
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Classical - Released January 1, 1994 | Nimbus Records

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Classical - Released January 1, 1988 | Nimbus Records

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Classical - Released March 1, 2009 | Signum Records

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Classical - Released September 5, 2005 | Halle Concerts Society

Classical - Released May 29, 2021 | UMG Recordings, Inc.

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Chamber Music - Released November 1, 2016 | Meridian Records

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Classical - Released January 1, 1995 | Nimbus Records