Elgar Sea Pictures
6th Nov 2015
CD HLL 7536
Sir Mark Elder
Alice Coote, Mezzo-soprano
EDWARD ELGAR (1857-1934)
Sea Pictures, Op.37 *
1. Sea Slumber-song (Roden Noel)
2. In Haven (C. Alice Elgar)
3. Sabbath Morning at Sea (Mrs Browning)
4. Where Corals Lie (Dr Richard Garnett)
5. The Swimmer (Adam Lindsay Gordon)
6. Polonia, Op.76
Pomp and Circumstance Marches, Op.39
7. No.1 in D major
8. No.2 in A minor
9. No.3 in C minor
10. No. 4 in G major
11. No.5 in C major
‘‘And so it was that the impressionistic undulations of Elgar’s Sea Pictures found a new transparency, buoying up Alice Coote’s very distinctive vocals (very telling doublings in the orchestra) to invoke the very particular atmosphere of these lovely settings. I had honestly forgotten how exquisite Elgar’s orchestrations were.”
The Arts Desk; Edward Seckerson
“Elder, always the perfect Elgarian, played his own part, lovingly burnishing every phrase.”
The Times; Geoff Brown
The latest release in Hallé’s award winning Elgar Edition features the much anticipated studio recording of Sea Pictures, coupled with the lesser known tone-poem Polonia and the five original Pomp and Circumstance Marches.
Following their recent chart topping release of Vaughan Williams A Sea Symphony (CD HLL 7542) Elder and his acclaimed forces present a volume of Elgar with revelatory performances of both much loved and lesser well known works.
Previous Elgar releases of The Dream of Gerontius (CD HLD 7520) and The Kingdom (CD HLD 7526) were universally acclaimed, each winning a Gramophone Award.
Premiered in 1899, shortly after the triumph of the Enigma Variations in London the previous month, Sea Pictures became an immediate hit (with two of the songs being performed with piano accompaniment for Queen Victoria at Balmoral two weeks after the premiere). The cycle of five songs for which Elgar selected a variety of poems from his wide knowledge of literature, features a range of masterly orchestral textures and stunning vocal settings.
Featuring soloist world renowned mezzo soprano Alice Coote, regarded as one of the leading artists of our day, equally famed on the great operatic stages as in concert and recital she has been named the ‘superlative British Mezzo’ (San Francisco Chronicle). Her performances have been described as ‘breathtaking in [its] sheer conviction and subtlety of perception’ (The Times) and her voice as ‘beautiful, to be sure, but, more importantly, it thrills you to the marrow.’ (The Daily Telegraph).
Polonia has long been overlooked but this recording will re-establish this highly engaging tone-poem which quotes Polish tunes and Chopin, written as a tribute to Poland’s contribution to the Allied cause in the First World War, in a brilliantly orchestrated score.
Not all of the five original Pomp and Circumstance Marches are as universally well known as No.1 and No.4 and, although constructed on the same structural pattern, they display an extraordinary variety of character. These orchestral showcases are a perfect vehicle with which to display the technical and artistic skill of the Hallé under Elder.