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Queen of Cornwall [Double CD]

Rutland Boughton Audio CD
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
Price: 20.72 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Queen of Cornwall + Boughton: The Immortal Hour
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Product details

  • Audio CD (14 Feb 2011)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Format: Double CD
  • Label: Dutton
  • ASIN: B004923E9E
  • Other Editions: MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 133,021 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Product Description

To mark the fiftieth anniversary of the death of the composer Rutland Boughton (1878-1960), during summer 2010 Dutton Epoch brought a notable team of soloists to the fine acoustic of London's St Jude-on-the-Hill to make a complete recording of Boughton's opera 'The Queen of Cornwall' under the sympathetic baton of Ronald Corp. Based on the play of the same name by Thomas Hardy, Boughton's glorious, lyrical score is vividly realised with Joan Rodgers (Iseult of Brittany), Jacques Imbrailo (Sir Tristram), Neal Davies (King Mark) and Heather Shipp (Queen Iseult) in the leading roles. This is a notable discovery, and all lovers of Boughton's music will want to explore this lovely score. Included in this deluxe 2-CD set is a 32-page booklet containing the full libretto text, plus rare pictures from the Boughton family archive showing the original 1924 Glastonbury Festival Production of 'The Queen of Cornwall'.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
28 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A major discovery 22 Nov 2010
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
For so many decades, Rutland Boughton's operatic works have lain neglected, save for 'The Immortal Hour', and at last we can make an objective judgement about one of his strongest scores, thanks to Mike Dutton and the superb team he assembled to bring us the first recording of 'The Queen of Cornwall'. The libretto, a mixture of Thomas Hardy's play of the same name and some of his poems, does sound a little quaint at this distance in time (but no worse than William Lloyd's libretti for the operas of his son, George). However, for this listener at least, the power of Boughton's music conquers all and leads one to forgive the literary shortcomings. The cast is perfect, with Heather Shipp an imperious and passionate Iseult the Fair and Joan Rogers her formidable rival for the love of the fickle, selfish Tristram, sung with sensitivity by Jacques Imbrailo (his gentle ballad at the end of Act One being especially touching). Lovers of Wagner's 'Tristan' need fear no pale imitation, as Boughton's work is of a very different nature. King Mark here is no sorrowful, noble cuckold, but a boorish bully (Boughton's Communist sympathies made the Arthurian kings and knights a pretty dislikable lot on the whole), and this is underlined by Neil Davies in his excellent portrayal. Ronald Corp welds the whole thing together skilfully and achieves a great sweep to the drama, with the New London Chorus and Orchestra responding to Boughton's effective writing with understanding and commitment. This is a major discovery and one that prompts a huge vote of thanks to all concerned. Unreservedly recommended.
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29 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding recording premiere 8 Nov 2010
By Albion
Format:Audio CD
This, Dutton's first full-blown complete opera (or music drama) recording is a revelation. Rutland Boughton (1878-1960) is best known for his gossamer-spun score 'The Immortal Hour', majestically recorded on Hyperion in 1983. The same company also recorded 'Bethlehem' but it has taken a long time to gain a hearing for another of his strongest scores, a setting of Thomas Hardy's re-telling of the Tristan and Isolde legend.

Written during 1923 and 1924, and adapted from the original play with the author's full approval, 'The Queen of Cornwall' is a dark and brooding drama played out against the backdrop of the sea-ravaged coast around Tintagel. King Mark is jealous of his wife Iseult's love for Sir Tristram and this leads to the tragic denouement familiar to many. From the opening choral depiction of the wind and waves to the closing hushed reunion of Tristram and Iseult in death the tension never lets up and Boughton's command of his drama is superb. The musical style is much more chromatic than 'The Immortal Hour', 'Bethlehem' or any of his three symphonies and is carried along mostly in parlando, leavened with the occasional 'set-piece' quasi-folk setting (for which Boughton utilised a number of lyrics culled from Hardy's poetry). The orchestration is superb, as you would expect from this composer and the choral writing highly imaginative.

This is a world premiere recording and, as such, must stand or fall by its fidelity to the spirit and letter of the score. On all counts it may be judged a triumph. The four principal characters, King Mark (Neal Davies), his Queen Iseult (Heather Shipp), Sir Tristram (Jacques Imbrailo) and his wife Iseult of Brittany (Joan Rodgers) are an outstanding team who realise the drama inherent in the music to create vivid characterisations.
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5.0 out of 5 stars NOT TO BE MISSED 26 Jan 2014
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
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