Elgar A Self-Portrait
5th Sep 2005
CD HLL 7509
Sir Mark Elder
Jane Irwin, Mezzo-soprano
James Burton, Choral Director
EDWARD ELGAR (1857-1934)
1. Overture: Froissart, Op.19
Dream Children, Op.43
2. No.1: Andante
3. No.2: Allegretto piacevole
The Music Makers, Op.69
5. Chorus: ‘A breath of our inspiration’
6. Solo: ‘They had no vision amazing’
7. Chorus: ‘But we …’
8. Chorus: ‘For we are afar with the dawning’
9. Solo: ‘Great hail! we cry to the comers’
JOHANN SEBASTIAN BACH (1685-1750) orch. ELGAR
10.-11. Fantasia and Fugue in C minor, BWV 537/Op.86
‘The Orchestra’s playing and the Hallé Choir’s singing blazed with conviction and Jane Irwin was in rich voice as the mezzo soloist.’
The Sunday Telegraph
‘Mark Elder further expounded his Elgar credentials by conducting a superb performance.’
The Sunday Telegraph
‘Elder, an inspired Elgarian who has a special relationship with this music.’
The Hallé’s latest CD is a major addition to their highly acclaimed ‘Elgar Edition’ series.
The studio recordings took place days after the music was performed live at Manchester’s Bridgewater Hall.
This is the first time in a decade that this music has been recorded, and the different works perfectly illustrate the different aspects of Elgar’s personality. Froissart shows him to be extrovert and brilliant – and strikingly beautiful. Dream Children are tender and moving, and superbly inventive.
Each Hallé disc includes a musical rarity, something particularly special. Here is Bach as heard through Elgar’s eyes and ears. Elgar said, ‘I wanted to show how gorgeous and great and brilliant Bach would have made it sound if he had our means.’
Based on Arthur O’Shaughnessy’s ode, The Music Makers is unique amongst Elgar’s compositions. It is packed with quotations from other works, especially Enigma, but stands alone as a dramatic, disturbing picture of the loneliness of the artist. He wrote, ‘I have written out my soul in the Violin Concerto, Symphony No.2 and the Ode’ and when you hear it, you believe him.
‘Music is in the air all around you. You just take as much of it as you want.’