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CD Review

Edward Elgar

A Self-Portrait

  • Overture "Froissart", Op. 19
  • Dream Children, Op. 43
  • The Music Makers, Op. 69
  • Fantasia & Fugue in C minor, Op. 86 (after Bach's BWV537)
Jane Irwin, mezzo-soprano
Hallé Orchestra & Choir/Mark Elder
Academy Sound & Vision CDHLL7509 68m DDD
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The Hallé Orchestra's Elgar series with Mark Elder has produced some outstanding performances that continue this great orchestra's tradition in their compatriot's music. Having already recorded four discs of works including the two symphonies and the Cello Concerto, this fifth disc is more than welcome and continues reaffirming their potential as one of the finest Elgar ensembles around.

Elder conducts a masterly account of Elgar's 'Froissart' Overture, which is truly forthright in the best Barbirolli tradition. I also enjoyed the peaceful interludes from 'Dream Children' which are so representative of a post-Edwardian English country home.

The main work on disc is undoubtedly the choral ode, 'The Music Makers' which also receives what can be termed as a masterful interpretation. Compared to Sir Adrian's Boult equally commendable interpretation, Elder is practically on the same wavelength. Jane Irwin is a fine mezzo whilst the Hallé Choir provides outstanding singing.

The disc concludes with Elgar's arrangement of Bach's Fantasia and Fugue in C minor BWV 537, a wonderful transcription that also harks back to a vanished age. Great stuff then and with copious notes and a classy stark presentation, this can only be another outstanding disc deserving the purchase of every Elgarian.

Copyright © 2005, Gerald Fenech