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Elgar: The Apostles / Sir Mark Elder, Halle Orchestra and Choir

Album Summary

>Elgar, Edward : The Apostles, Op. 49
Performers Conductor Ensemble
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Notes & Reviews:

This new release presents the oratorio planned to open the trilogy, the lesser-known and under-served work The Apostles, in a performance The Guardian described as "revelatory." This retelling of Christ's Passion from the viewpoint of His followers features extensive and effective use of leitmotivs and choral writing that is arguably an advance on that of Gerontius, with the work's closing section - depicting Christ's Ascension to heaven - thought to be one of the most poignant ever written.

The performance benefits from extensive research by Mark Elder, including study of a proof copy of the vocal score that he matched with what Elgar himself conducted in 1921, reinstating the semi chorus of nine male voices, sung here by an ensemble Elder specially selected from the Royal Northern College of Music.

This recording is probably the first - since Elgar conducted The Apostles on September 7, 1921 at the Three Choirs Festival - to incorporate Elgar's intentions at several points in the oratorio. Elgar included a part for a shofar, an ancient Hebrew instrument made of ram's horn. In most performances modern instruments imitate this, but this recording features a genuine shofar player.

American Record Guide, July/August 2013
Both choral and instrumental work are very fine, and the sound is excellent. The piece itself has many passages of great music and excellent craftsmanship.

Notes & Reviews:

Recording information: The Bridgewater Hall, Manchester (05/05/2012).


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Works Details

>Elgar, Edward : The Apostles, Op. 49
  • Performers: Brindley Sherratt (Bass); Jacques Imbrailo (Bass); Alice Coote (Mezzo-soprano); David Kempster (Baritone); Paul Groves (Tenor); Rebecca Evans (Soprano)
  • Conductor: Mark Elder
  • Running Time: 7 min. 2 sec.
  • Period Time: Post Romantic
  • Form: Cantata/Oratorio
  • Written: 1901-1903