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The Kingdom

4.9 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Audio CD (1 Feb. 1993)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Label: EMI Classics
  • ASIN: B00000DOAK
  • Other Editions: MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 153,057 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
  • Sample this album Artist - Artist (Sample)
1
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7:46
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2
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8:37
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3
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5:30
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4
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3:43
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5
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6:39
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6
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4:39
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7
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14:59
Album Only
8
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5:43
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Disc 2
1
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10:17
Album Only
2
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11:09
Album Only
3
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6:45
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4
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5:16
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5
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5:28
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6
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10:10
Album Only
7
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2:21
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8
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1:33
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9
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3:48
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10
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7:25
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11
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3:33
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12
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4:31
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Product Description

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Customer Reviews

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By hillbank68 TOP 500 REVIEWER on 5 Jan. 2007
Format: Audio CD
'The Kingdom' was recorded to celebrate Boult's 80th. birthday in 1969. I was at the pre-issue launch in the Wigmore Hall that year, when Boult and the producer, Christopher Bishop, talked about and presented extracts from the recording to a very full Hall. Elgar's daughter, Carice Elgar Blake, was also there. It was quite an event. The performance is very good indeed, and it is well recorded. It's a rather stately piece and, for me, does not have the fire, passion or drama of 'Gerontius', but Boult valued it much more highly, and he was not alone in that. It is very well constructed and unified and undoubtedly is more craftsmanslike than 'Gerontius'. In this set, there is the considerable bonus of the 'Coronation Ode', again very well performed. They can both be warmly recommended.
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By Bacchus TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 29 Nov. 2010
Format: Audio CD
This mainly is a review of the Kingdom. The Coronation Ode gets a pretty good performance as well as the Kingdom.

There are about 3 to 4 recordings of The Dream of Gerontius for each one of The Kingdom. Does this mean that it is 3-4 times as good? I will try to answer this.

The first thing I would like to say about this recording is that it is a faultless performance. Boult's control of the forces is perfect - the orchestra and choir aquit themselves brilliantly. However, what makes this recording special is the contribution of the soloists. Margaret Price and Yvonne Minton sing ravishingly - it is a real physical pleasure to hear such gorgeous voices. John Shirley Quirk sings commandly as per usual - I think in many ways he is a very underrated baritone. It is also fantastic to hear Alexander Young singing so heroically

Regarding the music itself. I know that Sir Adrian Boult considered it to be a greater work than The Dream of Gerontius. It is clearly a more mature work; it is very much the work of the Elgar who wrote the symphonies and violin concerto. I certainly enjoyed listening to it. However, I have to confess that it lacks the great "single arc" that is presented in the Dream of Gerontius. With that work, you really feel that you have been taken on one journey and emotionally it can be utterly draining. The Kingdom somehow seems to be a more episodic work. In conclusion, I feel that it is a work that impresses rather than moves the listener.

I give the whole thing 5 stars, whatever my own misgivings about the work itself.

I love writing reviews. I would love to know whether anyone reads them, so if you do, please indicate whether or not you approve of my comments or better still, make your own comments.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Elgar's "The Kingdom" had a checkered preparation. It was Elgar's final act of salvage from the ruin that was to have been his hugely ambitious cycle of oratorios based on the foundation of the early Christian church. All of this is filtered through his hyper-romantic Edwardian sensibility. It's relative failure in popularity was a profound career-altering experience for him. "The Kingdom" is the second part of the tale following on from Christ's ascension, that ended the first part, called "The Apostles". Elgar: The Apostles It has tended to lie in the shadow of that work and the even greater popularity of "Gerontius". The "action" centers on the inspirational descent of the Holy Spirit on the founders of the early church as described in the Acts of the Apostles. I have had the experience of singing this work as a member of the chorus and bought this recording to help me prepare for that performance (and because I had grown to love the work, too).
This is not really a dramatic work at all but rather an extended spiritual meditation of extraordinary power. Although the soloists are named Peter, John, Mary and Mary Magdelene these are really generic, rather than dramatic protagonists. They could be anyone (or everyone?). Elgar does not get truly under the skin of any character as he did with Judas. The greatest dramatic moments come from the numerous recollections from "The Apostles," and these borrowings tend to highlight the fact that the drama of the earlier work is largely missing from this one.
However, whatever reservations I might have about the work I would not be without it. The consistency of expression and the skill and beauty of the writing sweep the listener along irresistibly.
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Format: Audio CD
Many years ago I heard a reviewer on Radio 3 introduce what was "possibly the greatest recording of the human voice". He was refering to Margaret Price's singing of "The Sun Goeth Down", possibly the best known episode of The Kingdom.

The claim seemed inflated and preposterous. But he may well be right.

I listened with astonishment - Price can rarely have been in better voice and her performance certainly deserves to be ranked amongst the greatest among recorded sound. Its one of those glorious moments when several elements come together to produce something to cherish and to pass on to future generations - Boult a model of sympathetic insight, orchestra and soloists all on top form. And of course, Elgar at his melting, heartfelt best. Definately a recording to cherish: for fans of Elgar, Boult, Price and anyone who cares about the human voice.
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