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Thursday, May 9, 2013

Elgar, The Apostles, HALLÉ, Sir Mark Elder

HALLÉ, the full orchestra, chorus and soloists under Sir Mark Elder have undertaken to record Elgar's oratorio The Apostles (Halle 2-CD HLD 7534). They've done something extraordinary, in fact. There have been excellent recordings in the past of his later oratorio The Dream of Gerontius, but never have I heard such a stirring Apostles.

It's won a number of awards across the pond, so I don't believe I am producing any kind of surprise in my review today. The music has an endlessly inventive quality, but it's perhaps only in such an inspired performance that it comes across to the listener as exceptional.

This is a spectacular version. The chorus sounds especially beautiful, but soloists and orchestra make for a very moving and fully rounded reading. Sir Mark Elder brings out the drama, the dynamics, the finely differentiated parts, in a mode that is appropriately heroic.

Clearly Elgar meant this work to sound, and sound it does here. The depth of soundstaging comes through with exceptional detail and clarity. In all ways this is a triumph!

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