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CD Review

English Landscapes

Hallé Choir
Hallé Orchestra/Mark Elder
Nimbus CDHLL7512 72m DDD
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This beautifully recorded CD is the latest in a batch of 15 new issues recently re-released by the ever enterprising Nimbus label after the Hallé partnership with Sanctuary Classics (formerly AS&V) went under with that label.

Mark Elder is definitely one of the most elegant and consummate conductors around and he seems to excel in British music most of all. "Tintagel" is a case in point with the almost sinister sounding melody developing quite ravishingly – reminiscent of Boult's classic 1953 recording which remains my benchmark.

'The lark ascending' is also ravishingly beautiful and with such fine sound, Lyn Fletcher's playing is truly a soul warming experience. The same could be said of the short Delius pieces, probably his most famous works, especially "The Last Cuckoo in Spring". Finzi's "Fall of the Leaf" and Vaughan William's Norfolk Rhapsody are also given splendid interpretations, the latter certainly matches Hickox on Chandos.

Two short choral pieces by Elgar and Ireland conclude a lovely disc which is deserving of a top recommendation. Even if you have alternative recordings in your collection, this CD will certainly provide a refreshing and desirable alternative.

Copyright © 2008, Gerald Fenech