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Delius (Sidcup, Kent)

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Brahms Piano Trios Nos. 1-3 and Concerto for Violin & Cello Op.102
Brahms Piano Trios Nos. 1-3 and Concerto for Violin & Cello Op.102
Price: £17.16

4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent outing for the trios with the Concerto an interesting bonus., 9 July 2016
Following reviews of a number of relatively obscure British composers I recently decided to get back on to more familiar territory....and what better than Brahms.

I’ve always enjoyed the muscular but lyrical trios and found them expertly realised here. The best compliment I can pay these performers that having sat down with “review” ears on, I just surrendered to the performances and listened for pleasure. Yes the sleeve-note writer, Dominy Clements, justly points to Brahm’s trio writing emerging from the milieu of Schumann, but I can still detect more than a whisper of Beethovenian sinew....listen to the opening movement of the third trio for example. Written at 33 with a career well established this seems to acknowledge debts but at the same time forges ahead with a confidence of its own.... and what beautiful melody.

The Shaham, Erez Wallfisch trio is evidently a well balanced group of thoughtful musicians, no one seeks to dominate unduly but equally they are always there to support each other, albeit that the singing ‘cello lines of Raffa Wallfisch especially tickle the ear. Even the tricky outer sections of 2nd trio’s scherzo, with its difficulties for all the players (especially the poor pianist!), is dispatched with aplomb. Engineering balance is equally exemplary, recordings made at Wyastone Lea, presumably in its admirable concert hall.

Unusually for Nimbus recording production and supervision of the accompanying Double Concerto has been ceded to others, namely Holger Urbach Musikproducktion, as Hagai Shaham and Rafael Wallfisch join the Rheinische Philharmonie in their hall in Koblenz, a beautiful city located near the confluence of the Rhine and Mosel rivers.

As seasoned chamber musicians the soloists once again exhibit a unanimity of approach and allow the splendid melodies to sing out. Balance is generally reasonable (this is a notoriously difficult work to undertake) although occasionally I felt the soloists to be a little close and concomitantly the orchestra to be a mite backward. It would be interesting to know whether the German team used Nimbus’ standard crossed pair of microphones or multimiked in more “conventional” fashion.

All in all I would look upon this as an excellent outing for the trios, with the concerto as an interesting and uncommon bonus. Although I haven’t compared their readings with any of the potential opposition – for example such stellar groups as Heifetz and friends, or the Beaux Arts – I can confidently recommend them to anyone seeking out this repertoire.


Antonín Dvorák - String Quartet No. 13 in G major, B. 192 (Op. 106), Josef Suk - Meditation on the Old Czech Chorale St Wenceslas Op. 35 and Leo Janácek - String Quartet No. 1 Kreutzer Sonata
Antonín Dvorák - String Quartet No. 13 in G major, B. 192 (Op. 106), Josef Suk - Meditation on the Old Czech Chorale St Wenceslas Op. 35 and Leo Janácek - String Quartet No. 1 Kreutzer Sonata
Price: £14.75

5.0 out of 5 stars New personnel continues to uphold a distinguished tradition, 25 April 2016
For some reason I have tended to imagine string quartets as somehow ‘permanent ‘fixtures....yet of course the history of performance bears out that this is far from the truth.

When in July 2014 it was reported in the Newsletter of the Dvorak Society that Jiri Zigmund was leaving the position of violist with the Wihan Quartet, on the verge of its 30th anniversary, some qualms were felt about a distinguished quartet’s future trajectory.

Well it seems we needn’t have worried. Jakob Cepicky, his replacement, seems to have melded seamlessly into the quartet’s fibre and to celebrate the fact here is their first recording together to prove it.

Comparing the Wihan with one of my benchmarks, the classic recordings by the Prague String Quartet (on DG) I find the Wihan more ‘open’, more transparent, playing with infinite poise. Whilst this may be due in part to the greater transparency of the modern recording, (made in the Martinu Hall of the Prague Academy of Performing Arts just last May), I feel it’s also down to the approach and the style of the players.

Perhaps in the accompanying Janacek a smidgen more.... nervy, edgy sound would be welcome. Whilst in all this repertoire the Wihan’s are up against stiff opposition here they particularly meet, head-on, the much vaunted Pavel Haas Quartet on Supraphon. They seem to strip the very musical flesh from the score and lay bare its synapses, encompassing the thrill, the uncertainty and the ultimate agony of an affair between a wife and her duet partner. One furthermore in which a performance of the “Kreutzer” sonata illuminates all to her suddenly comprehending husband, and results in unmitigated cruelty toward his wife. Ironically Janacek was involved himself at the time of composing the quartet in a ‘relationship’ (although not an ‘affair’ -except possibly at the very end), with a merchant’s wife, Kamila Stosslova. With the Wihan the experience is slightly less immediate, more objective......perhaps recalled at a slight distance (?) ........possibly as an uncomfortable memory.......... but none the less mightily impressive.

In sum......I wouldn’t want to be without either interpretation, and I greatly look forward to whatever new journeys the Wihan plan together.


Arnold Cooke Symphonies Nos. 4 in E-Flat and No.5 in G
Arnold Cooke Symphonies Nos. 4 in E-Flat and No.5 in G
Price: £10.54

5.0 out of 5 stars Once again worthwhile byways of the repertoire given every chance to shine, 25 April 2016
My first encounter with the music of Arnold Cooke was some years ago when I purchased a Lyrita LP of his 3rd Symphony and music from “Jebez the Devil”. I marked this as music worth knowing and to look out for subsequent issues. As so often this ‘mental note’ disappeared into the ether largely due to a lack of subsequent record company interest.

Well Lyrita have returned, albeit this time in their Itter Radio Archive series, with 2 more symphonies ....and once again we’re placed in his debt.

“Cooke’s opening bars do not tickle or woo. They take us by the nape (of the neck)
and pitch us straightway into an orchestral argument which is definitely symphonic
both as to scale and earnestness.”

So wrote Charles Stuart in the Observer, and it is evidenced vividly by both these symphonies, the Fourth (marginally my favourite of the two) for example beginning with an impressive striding theme which grabs the attention. The slow movement meanwhile bought out (for me) a distinct kinship with Alan Rawsthorne, with passages redolent of the bleak music for the wartime film “The Cruel Sea”, whilst the third echoed the more puckish feeling of a Vaughn William’s style scherzo. Premiered at the RFH in 1975 we hear its first performance on this disc.

The opening of Symphony no 5’s slow movement meanwhile has in its predominance of woodwind the feel of a winter’s landscape, with a beautifully doleful clarinet theme. It therefore didn’t come as much of a surprise, on reading Paul Conway’s as-ever excellent notes, that Cooke admitted to:

“a peculiar liking (for wind instruments)”

Once again the movement is displaced by a playful scherzo, albeit not without darker overtones led by pounding timpani, whilst the finale sounds like some great medieval pageant, with echoes of Sir Arthur Bliss in its fanfare like theme.

Congratulations to the musicians of the BBC Northern Symphony Orchestra (now BBC Philharmonic) who pick up all the varying moods unerringly under the baton of that excellent broadcaster and musician Bernard Keefe. Whilst both recordings appear to be mono, despite the 5th dating from 1981, they are well balanced and perfectly acceptable.

Once again in this series....if you think the repertoire will appeal... the quality of the disc gives the music every chance.


Peter Racine Fricker: The Vision of Judgement Op.29 and Symphony No.5 for organ and orchestra Op.74
Peter Racine Fricker: The Vision of Judgement Op.29 and Symphony No.5 for organ and orchestra Op.74
Price: £10.50

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Where has this music been all my life?, 16 April 2016
The name of Peter Fricker was not an unknown to me; indeed I was attracted to this disc by the promise of the 5th Symphony, a piece I had admired and taped (albeit far more primitively than Richard Itter) back in 1976. My memory was that my cassette embodied the premiere, but I was wrong. In fact I’d captured the second performance...by Jennifer Bate and Christopher Adey at the Proms. What we have here is the first performance from a couple of months earlier, at the RFH, with Gillian Weir and Colin Davis.....but no matter, it confirmed my opinion; ie an interesting, thoughtful yet dynamic work which it is good to see on silver disc.

It seems when considering his BBC commission for the RFH Fricker felt,

“.......the thought of having that organ sitting there doing nothing was repugnant to me”

and having long felt a great affection for the instrument (he was one of the first to play it for a Morley College concert) it was inevitable that it would become an integral part of his thought processes.

Incidentally symphonic Fricker, although not entirely unrepresented, has hardly burst the catalogue at the seams. His first symphony was recorded in 1967 by Robert Whitney and the Louisville Orchestra for the Louisville Edition, and later re-issued through an initiative masterminded by Robert Matthew Walker on a mid-price RCA LP in the ‘70s. The second, with the RLPO and Sir John Pritchard, appeared briefly on an EMI British Composers disc, in tandem with Orr and Simpson, in 2003. The present recording was available briefly on an Aries LP.

However, like Benjamin Britten on hearing Frank Bridge’s orchestral masterpiece “The Sea”, I was literally ‘knocked sideways’ by the main item on this disc, Fricker’s “The Vision of Judgement”. In short this has been one of the greatest revelations of my musical life in recent years....and after 45 odd years of listening they now don’t come that often!

Fricker charts a journey from the Day of Judgement through to the establishment of the Kingdom of Heaven, using large forces including substantial heavy brass and often spectacular percussion, with enormous skill. Within a broadly consonant framework, influences of “modernism” are apparent (Bartok, Stravinsky, even Schoenberg) in his style. Yet, at least within my experience, he didn’t become a convert to atonality or serialism, although he was unafraid of using elements of such techniques to add an edge or spice to his music. I was continually impressed by melodic ideas, aspects of colour in the orchestration, and turns of phrase in the musical line (choral and orchestral) which delighted my ear....listen for instance to the scurrying strings and ominous trombone chords ushering in the arrival of the ‘mighty host’ at the opening of section 6 – here is a man who knew his Berlioz surely.

Otherwise the idiom is not a million miles away from Vaughn-Williams, Walton and many “Cheltenham” composers of the 1950’s, but seems more distinctive and memorable than many. Indeed I kept thinking....much as I love “Belshazzar’s Feast” .....how wonderful it would be to hear this Fricker piece done more often, at the Proms for instance. In fact “The Vision of Judgement” was a Leeds Festival commission unveiled in 1958, just as Walton's choral masterwork was nearly 20 years earlier.

My only initial criticism was that the very end could be 'tighter'; it seemed redolent of Malcom Arnold’s send-up in “A Grand Grand Overture” – ie a composer not quite sure how to actually finish a piece . But on reflection I now revel in the music, rejecting such findings as carping in the face of real quality.

As to the performance itself – everyone acquits themselves marvellously, and the sound (1980 Stereo) is really splendid. No venue is given, (BBC Genome is no further help), although the generous acoustic of Leeds Town Hall sounds a distinct possibility (?). Whatever the source the BBC engineers, Richard Itter and Lyrita re-mastering engineer Mike Clements all do a job of which they can be justly proud.

Maybe this is not quite a disc in a million........but definitely it is one in a few thousand. Once again I can only reiterate....... I wonder what other Itter-Lyrita revelations await?


Gerhard: The Plague
Gerhard: The Plague
Price: £6.49

5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful disc of a disturbing masterpiece., 25 Mar. 2016
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Gerhard: The Plague (Audio CD)
A magnificent achievement. A truly chilling work. Gerhard was encouraged by then BBC Controller William Glock and the premiere was given by the BBC SO under Dorati, so he knew the work well. The narration by Alec McCowen is dispassionate and spine chilling - listen for example to the penultimate section and the death of the young boy. The Decca engineers work their usual magic with terrific impact. If you are at all attracted to this repertoire do give it a try.


Ralph Vaughan Williams - Sir John in Love: An Opera in Four Acts
Ralph Vaughan Williams - Sir John in Love: An Opera in Four Acts
Price: £13.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Riches indeed, 21 Jan. 2016
Much as I love and admire Vaughn Williams I can’t say the operas have ever really gripped me. Probably the nearest I’ve come to succumbing to their charms is The Pilgrims Progress, whilst Hugh the Dover, The Poisoned Kiss and Sir John in Love have rather been also-rans.

I think this Itter radio archive issue may be persuading me though, with its excellent cast of 50’s singers and deft direction by Stanford Robinson (another 40’s-50’s stalwart) backed up as ever by first rate radio sound.

Although written and premiered in the 1920’s under the baton of Malcolm Sargent, Sir John didn’t receive its first professional performance until after the war at Sadlers Wells. Adapting Shakespeare Vaughn Williams wrote his own libretto and included in his music references to various folk tunes, including “Greensleeves”.

This may imply a certain ‘bucolic feyness’ but that is not the case. In fact in some ways the opera is a transitional work since during this period the composer was moving away from folksong influence and toward a more straightforward, and tougher outlook – transitional too in “Job”, and then more angular in “Sancta Civitas” and the 4th Symphony.

Although fundamentally a comedy VW draws sensitive character pictures, especially the central character of Falstaff. Listen to him as he leads the ensemble in “I spy entertainment in her”, the mischievousness matched only by a misplaced self-confidence, as he launches the plot of simultaneous letters to Mistresses Ford and Page......beautifully painted by orotund baritone sounds of Roderick Jones. And what a joy to hear some more ‘greats’ of the period...Heddle Nash,Parry Jones, Forbes Robinson and April Cantelo (as Mistress Page’s daughter, Anne).

Comedy also doesn’t subvert Vaughn Williams’ natural store of melody – try the short but beautiful string theme swelling up out of the orchestra at the beginning of the final scene, a brief hint of a joyful and satisfying resolution before the fun of the opera’s final pages.

Presentation is first class in two booklets no less. The first is devoted to cast details and detailed notes by Paul Conway, fast becoming one of the other excellent reasons to collect this series; the second devoted to a full libretto.

Given that this is 1956 mono radio sound the scene painting is deftly done by the BBC producers and sound engineers, and once again the essential excellence of the basic recorded material allied to deft transfer skills adds up to another winner from Lyrita.

Don't ignore the EMI set conducted by Meredith Davies (I haven't heard the rival Hickox recording on Chandos) but equally don't overlook this current issue either. There are riches here indeed.
Comment Comments (4) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 19, 2016 8:29 AM BST


Sir Arnold Bax & Stanley Bate Cello Concertos
Sir Arnold Bax & Stanley Bate Cello Concertos
Price: £14.07

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Grab with both hands !, 8 Nov. 2015
Paul Conway’s as ever excellent notes begins with a plea, from 1953, by the late musicologist Julian Herbage,

“Will someone please begin a reassessment of Bax’s music with a performance of
this remarkable yet neglected work?”

Well the reassessment took a while longer to come; it was the 1970’s when the likes of Colin Scott-Sutherland (specifically) and Peter Pirie (within the context of a more general text) began to get the Bax bandwagon on the road. At around the same time conductors like Ted Downes and Vernon Handley recorded Bax for LP...... when given the opportunity but, at least on disc, the revival came with the 1980’s and the age of the CD with Chandos leading the way. A great swathe of Bax appeared, mainly under the baton of Bryden Thomson (including the cello concerto), to be followed subsequently by a fine Naxos series with David Lloyd Jones.

Nevertheless the opportunity to hear major Bax from a different source is one to be grabbed with both hands, and such is the case here. Thomson was no speed merchant in the concerto but interestingly Handy and Yates are slower – not that even in direct comparison it bothered me. They seem to ruminate most effectively, allowing Bax’s long melodies to speak and yet picking up well on detail (despite the large-ish orchestra Bax ensures that he doesn’t drown his soloist).

Indeed this can lead him to fascinating sonorities, such as when the second melody of the slow movement is introduced by the soloist to the accompaniment of just 3 double basses – who else would have thought of that?

Stanley Bate was a Devonian being born some years after Bax in 1911. He went to the RCM where he studied under Vaughn-Williams, R O Morris, Gordon Jacob and Arthur Benjamin – a pretty good “team” to have on your side. Coming to prominence in the late 1930’s with a piano concertante work he honed his pianistic skills and left for the USA returning in ’49. This seemed to typecast him. Even when he achieved performances at places such as the Cheltenham Festival – a significant venue for 1950’s British music – he was described as “known in the USA”. His music languished and this very possibly led to his suicide in 1959.

His cello concerto is quite a late work, 1953. Once again a sizeable orchestra is used with great care not to obstruct or cover the ‘cellist, the slow movement in particular featuring a slow, song-like outpouring from the ‘cello. The finale, by contrast, has a second idea which fleetingly sounds like the opening of Irving Berlin’s “Let’s face the music and dance”.

All in all another great achievement from the “standard” Lyrita label (ie as distinct from the Itter Radio Archive), and one hopes funds and resources are available to continue its noble, exploratory tradition. Performances are first rate and the recording well up to the house’s high standards. Wallets at the ready!
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 13, 2015 9:00 PM GMT


Wilfred Josephs Symphony No.5 'Pastoral', Requiem Op.39 & Variations on a Theme of Beethoven Op.68
Wilfred Josephs Symphony No.5 'Pastoral', Requiem Op.39 & Variations on a Theme of Beethoven Op.68
Price: £11.25

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A welcome first-time appearance on CD of works by Wilfred Josephs, 26 Oct. 2015
A very welcome issue for the first time on CD of two Unicorn Kanchana LPs (DKP9026 and DKP9032) of important works by the Newcastle born Wilfred Josephs, all the music recorded in his presence.

Although qualifying as a dentist, Josephs studied at the Guildhall School in London, a scholarship also taking him across the Channel to Paris for a year (1958). Although working as a visiting professor in Milwaukee and Chicago, Josephs composing career centred upon London.

Initially approached by a provincial orchestra for what turned out to be the 5th Symphony, Josephs was wary, but then realising the Hull Philharmonic’s distinguished history (including an association with Sir Henry Wood) he readily acquiesced. Like his great forebear there is something of a tinge of regret that the countryside is not Joseph’s ‘natural home’ as it were. In the original LP sleeve-note Bernard Jacobsen observes,

“It is, one feels, the poetry and mystical associations of the country, rather than the
earthiness dear to Vaughn-Williams , that bewitch both of them.”

The Variations take the theme of the minuet of the Piano Sonata op49 no2 (later re-tooled in the Septet) as its basis for an intriguing exposition, both fascinating and very entertaining.

The Requiem of course is an altogether more serious matter and probably was the work in 1963 which effectively put Josephs on the map as a serious composer, winning the first International Competition for Symphonic Composition sponsored jointly by the City of Milan and the La Scala opera.

The origins of this non-Latin requiem go back to the trial of Adolf Eichmann in Israel, and the initial urge to translate his feelings into writing a string quintet. Gradually he felt the quintet was not enough and so he began to think of incorporating it, without losing the scoring, into a larger choral work. The text was settled as a setting of the Kaddish, the Hebrew chant of mourners for the dead, although Josephs was always at pains to assert that the feelings evoked by the piece were far from being restricted to the Jewish nation.

All the work here is excellently presented by the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra (and the Adelaide Chorus) with David Measham clearly a real advocate of the composer’s work. The LP of the orchestral works has a charming picture of composer and conductor, I guess somewhere in the outback, looking at aboriginal art.

Despite the fact my original LPs are still mercifully silent I couldn’t resist the opportunity to re-hear these works on CD...and I’m glad I succumbed.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 23, 2016 5:48 PM GMT


Phyllis Tate The Lodger - Opera In Two Acts
Phyllis Tate The Lodger - Opera In Two Acts
Price: £15.04

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An early Hitchcock film thriller becomes an admirable addition to the canon of English opera, 21 Sept. 2015
Amongst that small but interesting sub group of British opera....those with a basis in mystery and/or horror.... ie Martelli’s “The Monkey’s Paw”, Maxwell-Davies’ “The Lighthouse” and above all, Britten’s “The Turn of the Screw”.....Phyllis Tate’s “The Lodger” occupies a place of honour. Not a masterpiece perhaps, but nevertheless a very accomplished work, which does generate a definite atmosphere of unquiet.

Based on a novel by Marie Belloc Lowndes (sister of Hilaire Belloc), and later captured by Hitchcock in his third film, the premise is straightforward; an older couple, down on their luck, suddenly find relative fortune when a stranger unexpectedly arrives to take up room in their lodgings on the Marylebone Road. The wife has misgivings from the start, and as the lodger’s nocturnal wanderings increasingly coincide with the activities of the notorious killer “Jack the Ripper”, realisation spreads between her and her husband.

Eventually in a ’show-down’ Emma makes it clear she realises the lodger’s identity, yet to his surprise still refuses to alert the Police, arguing that he needs psychiatric treatment not hanging. The Lodger disappears leaving behind an open Bible, left open at the passage,

“And now abideth Faith, Hope and Charity. ...but the greatest of these is Charity..”

An interesting stance to take in the late 1950’s and early 60’s, the period of composition and performance, considering capital punishment was still firmly established.

Not such a surprise perhaps when you consider Tate’s background which contains elements of the unconventional. Daughter of an established architect, born and brought up in prosperous Gerrards Cross, she showed early signs of rebellion. Expelled from Primary School (for singing a lewd song !) she had no formal education. Through a roundabout route she came to the Royal Academy, persuaded by the composer and tutor Harry Farjeon, she studied piano, conducting and the timpani (!). Dismissed from the college orchestra for entering fortissimo on the timps in an empty bar during a concert conducted by Sir Henry Wood, she nevertheless doggedly pursued a career in composition.

And along with other women such as Dorothy Carwithien, Grace Williams, Ruth Gipps, and Elizabeth MaConchy she was largely ignored by the establishment...although thankfully the subject of re-evaluation today...in no small measure it must be said to Lyrita Records.

But this is another feather in the cap of the Itter Archive, not Richard Itter’s mainstream recording programme, and once again I’m delighted to have the opportunity to hear it. A broadcast dating from the early 1960’s it is in mono, but very clear. Voices are forward ensuring, along with the standards of excellent diction of the time, that virtually every word is crystal clear. How often have I bemoaned the lack of a libretto/translation in an opera set...... and yet here we have one and it’s hardly needed !

Owen Brannigan and Johanna Peters head the cast and make an excellent husband-and-wife team, Peters sometimes sounding uncannily like Janet Baker. Joseph Ward is an effective Lodger, and Alexander Young a decent 'Joe', a young Policeman. Only the soprano Marion Studholme as the daughter Daisy troubled me, her piping tone causing near-overload on the tape at times....although still very effective singing quietly, as in her Act 1 narration “How often I’ve longed to come home”. The BBC Northern Orchestra (predecessor of the BBC Philharmonic) give admirable backing directed by the, as yet, un-ennobled Charles Groves.

Around the time of the premiere the late editor of “Opera” magazine Harold Rosenthal declared in the Musical Times,

“Other than Peter Grimes, (The Lodger) is probably the most successful ‘first’ opera by a native
composer since the War”

I’m not sure I’d quite go that far, but nevertheless this is a set well worth exploring, especially for anyone with an interest in the development of the genre.

Yet again with these latest CDs I’m fascinated to think what other little gems may be lurking in this copious radio archive, and I eagerly await the next issues.


Vaughan Williams A Sea Symphony
Vaughan Williams A Sea Symphony
Price: £12.45

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not only the surge and the spray... but the mystical too., 21 Sept. 2015
Elder’s ongoing Vaughn-Williams cycle moves to the “Sea Symphony” and once again triumphs. Having just missed out on a Gramophone Award with their excellent disc of the “Pastoral” symphony they must surely be in the running again with this one.

Not that we’re short of fine CDs of Vaughn-Williams first essay into symphonic form: Boult (times 2 –mono and stereo), Previn, Slatkin, Haitink, Handley, Andrew Davis ...and a favourite of mine although now forgotten...Hickox – not his Chandos disc but an earlier one on Virgin Classics, transferred to an EMI Double) . I believe this was originally to be the herald of a new cycle but for various reasons the project was abandoned.

Yet.. Elder stands right at the head of this distinguished list. Bridgewater Hall seems to expand with the glorious sounds he conjures from his choir and orchestra, whilst the soloists are tremendous. Roderick Williams appears as the baritone soloist ...he really has grown to adopt a position as the dependable stalwart of such roles in British repertoire....alongside an outstanding.... indeed thrilling.... Katherine Broderick, who has become my favourite soprano amongst all these recordings.

Above all Elder makes sense of V-W’s “questing” in the finale, where the emphasis shifts from vivid description to a more theoretical, metaphysical musing. It must be so easy for this to fall apart at the seams (as it did for me in one concert performance...no names).

No this is an issue for packing everyone out the house, warning the neighbours, and turning the volume right up.

As Michael Kennedy remarks in his erudite booklet note....what an impression that great opening must have made on the audience at the premiere. ...and this signals the only sadness associated with this recording...that such a great writer on Elgar and Vaughn-Williams didn’t live to see this great enterprise with his beloved Halle through to a conclusion.


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