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Mendelssohn: Elijah, 1846

Conductor Ensemble
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Notes & Reviews:

The Times, 1st September 2012
Step into Victorian Birmingham with Paul McCreesh's "authentic" recording of Mendelssohn's epic Old Testament oratorio...The thumping grandeur of the big choruses is magnificent. But against that must be placed McCreesh's tendency to insert wallowing rallentandos before every transition, and fuzzy choral diction.

The Telegraph, 15th September 2012
One of the striking aspects of the performance is the way that Paul McCreesh so naturally places the great set pieces within the context of a multifaceted expressive whole...familiar moments in Elijah sound newly minted here, McCreesh approaching them with polished, fluent phrasing and using the period instruments of his orchestra to underpin emphases and to add vibrant colour.

The Observer, 23rd September 2012
McCreesh here totally re-imagines it: the big choruses are transparent as well as massively impressive...and there is no danger of religiosity in the fresh-voiced solos of Rosemary Joshua, Sarah Connolly and Simon Keenlyside...In all, a spectacularly successful reinvention of the British choral tradition.

BBC Music Magazine, November 2012
Connolly sings with mellifluous tone and Simon Keenlyside is an Elijah of spirit and intelligence: he may not have the sheer weight of a Bryn Terfel, but he's alive to every shift of meaning and his diction is, as ever, impeccable. The gut strings, unimpeded by vibrato, bring splendid urgency to the texture.

The Arts Desk, 6th October 2012
Miraculously, McCreesh succeeds in relating Elijah's sound world to Mendelssohn's more familiar, lighter-sounding works while never underplaying the performance's staggering heft. The combined choirs produce a sonority which has to be heard to be believed. The doomy, dramatic numbers are simply terrifying...McCreesh's Berlioz disc was a highlight of 2011; this Elijah is even better. Flawless, in other words.

MusicWeb International, October 2012
There's a definite histrionic side to the role and Keenlyside doesn't short-change us but when listening to him I was reminded again and again what a fine lieder singer he is...[Ward is] clear and accurate and shows excellent breath control. Furthermore, his pitching is spot-on...The orchestral playing is superb...This is a marvellous recording of Elijah...Anyone who cares about this fine work should try to hear it.

Choir & Organ, November/December 2012
Unashamedly committed and thoroughly dramatic... this a reading to make one hear Mendelssohn's masterpiece anew... The recording is beautifully presented in an exquisitely designed 'book format'.

Gramophone Magazine, November 2012
The sound is massive when required, but the articulation is never unwieldy and there is delicacy too ... [the organ is] a splendid beast and, except in one instance, you would never know that it was dubbed on electronically...Sarah Connolly and Rosemary Joshua are both excellent. From the crib of 'Death and the Maiden' at the opening to the final 'Amen', this is a triumph.

Notes & Reviews:

Recording information: Birmingham Town Hall (02/26/2012); Watford Colosseum (02/26/2012); Birmingham Town Hall (08/29/2011-09/01/2011); Watford Colosseum (08/29/2011-09/01/2011).


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