Notes & Reviews:
Live recording of Elgar's last oratorio, taken from the acclaimed 2009 performance at Bridgewater Hall, Manchester. With a text by the composer - and music that is at turns lyrical, mystical, and magical - The Kingdom is ecstatic in its glorious choral depiction of the events following Pentecost, when the Apostles began their work for the Church in Jerusalem.
"Right from the start of the Jerusalem Prelude the musicians displayed real urgency and that supple response to every orchestral thrust and sigh that only committed Elgarians such as the Hall·can command ... nothing budged the wonderful glow of the Hall·sound, the orchestra's mastery of Elgar's moods - from full Edwardian regalia to delicately scored rapture - or Elder's endless understanding of the composer's heart and soul." - The Times (live performance review)
"Elder's Hallé forces capture the valedictory tone of the music and its quintessential Englishness superbly. Clare Rutter, Susan Bickley, John Hudson and Iain Paterson sing with sublime gentleness and power, while the Hallé Choir have this music in their blood." -The Sunday Times
"It is good that Elder and the Hallé are maintaining the UK's Elgar tradition - no one else is - and they produce a solid performance (appropriately glowing in the choral climaxes)" - Financial Times
"Elder clearly believes in every note of this noble edifice and his unforced, coherent conception has a thrilling ring of conviction about it. The soloists comprise a strong team. Iain Paterson is a commandingly articulate St Peter, the ever-versatile Susan Bickley a shiningly powerful Mary Magdalene, and Claire Rutter brings considerable technical acumen and strength of feeling" -Gramophone
"There are...moments of inwardness and spirituality where the gleam of the cor anglais and Elgar's ever-emotional divided-string writing make their mark" -BBC Music Magazine
"Elder carries off the remarkable feat of binding the loose episodic structure of the oratorio into a convincing whole; his choir and orchestra respond magnificently to his inspired direction." -The Sunday Times
"The choral and orchestral writing, especially as delivered here, have rousing climaxes that compensate for more routine Elgariana padding. Worth discovering even if it's not his top work." - The Observer
"Mark Elder conducts a radiant account with much dynamic ebb and flow. The Prelude's crescendo is an engine roaring to life. Sections expressing frailty...are compelling...The lively chorus revels in its frequent dramatic interjections." -Classic FM
"Iain Paterson possess a firm baritone and can express character strongly...Susan Bickley sings a controlled Mary Magdalene...I understand that Rutter was a last-minute substitute for this concert, but one wouldn't know it from the radiant performance she gives...Elder has a natural feel for Eglar's expansive phrases and he secures committed playing throughout." -Record Review
Recording information: Bridgewater Hall, Manchester (10/17/2009).
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Works DetailsElgar, Edward : The Kingdom, oratorio for soloists, chorus & orchestra, Op. 51
- Conductor: Mark Elder
- Running Time: 9 min. 31 sec.
- Period Time: Post Romantic
- Form: Cantata/Oratorio
- Written: 1905-1906