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24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another great English Choral Music CD
Elgar's choral music is some of his most exquisite, and the latest in this excellent Naxos series of English Choral Music does much to showcase it.
The two anthems that stand out are the dramatic "Give unto the Lord" and the more solemn but wonderfully profound "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me". The Choir of St. John's College, Cambridge and the conductor...
Published on 9 May 2005 by pete_ym

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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Excellent except for one note
A superb disc of singing - audible syllables and exciting and varied registration. The sound of the organ comes across very well - better than any other recording and sensitively accompanies the choir. There is, however, a piercing mistake on the organ at "and thou child shalt be called" of the benedictus. Other than that, an essential recording of the best of Elgar's...
Published 17 months ago by Spaniel


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24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another great English Choral Music CD, 9 May 2005
Elgar's choral music is some of his most exquisite, and the latest in this excellent Naxos series of English Choral Music does much to showcase it.
The two anthems that stand out are the dramatic "Give unto the Lord" and the more solemn but wonderfully profound "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me". The Choir of St. John's College, Cambridge and the conductor Christopher Robinson are perfectly suited to performing this kind of music and the wonderful treble sound really brings the music to like, especially in more tuneful pieces like "Ave verum corpus". The organ playing is also brilliant, even the most difficult and dramatic passages performed to perfection.
An excellent addition to a series of fantastic music, and one which any admirer of the English music tradition would do well to buy!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent choral singing but lacking orchestral brilliance, 3 Aug 2010
By 
P. Markham "PM" (UK) - See all my reviews
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This recording of Elgar choral pieces by the excellent choir of St. John's College, Cambridge is everything one would expect and hope for in terms of performance of the pieces Elgar wrote specifically for unaccompanied choir, or for choir and organ alone. The only drawback with this collection comes in the choice to include items which Elgar wrote with orchestral accompaniment or for which he subsequently wrote orchestral versions. Because Elgar was such a great orchestrator and generally thought in orchestral terms, there is always something missing from performances that use just choir and organ versions. This is obviously true in the items taken from the great choral materpieces 'The Apostles' and 'The Light of Life' but it is most noticeable towards the end of the Benedictus Op. 34. In the orchestral version Elgar achieves a stunning effect with loud drum beats, which here are merely damp squibs when they are played as relatively muted pedal notes on the organ. Other performers have achieved a much better effect even in organ-only versions, but there is nothing to match the sheer drama of the drum strokes in the orchestral version such as in Richard Hickox' superb performance of the Te Deum and Benedictus with the London Symphony Chorus and the Northern Sinfonia on EMI.

There are, of course, some gains in the vocal clarity which is provided by a choir and organ-only performance and in this respect St. John's Choir is exemplary. Allan Clayton is the particularly fine soloist in 'Seek Him that maketh the seven stars' and this extract from 'The Light of Life' is extremely well sung.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 12 July 2014
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Mike Evans (herefordshire) - See all my reviews
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A good recording at a competitive price.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Excellent except for one note, 23 Feb 2013
A superb disc of singing - audible syllables and exciting and varied registration. The sound of the organ comes across very well - better than any other recording and sensitively accompanies the choir. There is, however, a piercing mistake on the organ at "and thou child shalt be called" of the benedictus. Other than that, an essential recording of the best of Elgar's choral music.
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