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Elgar: The Starlight Express / Sir Andrew Davis, Scottish Chamber Orchestra / Elin Thomas, soprano; Roderick Williams, baritone

Audio Samples

  1. Elgar — The Starlight Express, Op. 78, Act I: To the Children $0.99 on iTunes
  2. Elgar — The Starlight Express, Op. 78, Act I: In the Village of Bourcelles in the Swiss … $0.99 on iTunes
  3. Elgar — The Starlight Express, Op. 78, Act I: Just Then a Lamplighter … $0.99 on iTunes
  4. Elgar — The Starlight Express, Op. 78, Act I: At That Time, Henry Had Told Him About the Old Railway … $0.99 on iTunes
  5. Elgar — The Starlight Express, Op. 78, Act I: … The Mother of Them All $0.99 on iTunes
  6. Elgar — The Starlight Express, Op. 78, Act I: They Were Always Eager to Hear His Poetry $0.99 on iTunes
  7. Elgar — The Starlight Express, Op. 78, Act I Scene 1: As Though On Cue $0.99 on iTunes
  8. Elgar — The Starlight Express, Op. 78, Act I: … Gold and Had Put It On for Warmth Against the Cool Evening Air $0.99 on iTunes
  9. Elgar — The Starlight Express, Op. 78, Act I: Before Them Stood an Extremely Dishevelled Figure Holding a Suitcase $0.99 on iTunes
  10. Elgar — The Starlight Express, Op. 78, Act I: As Daddy Took Charge of the Luggage $0.99 on iTunes
  11. Elgar — The Starlight Express, Op. 78, Act I: We Want to Tell You Something $0.99 on iTunes
  12. Elgar — The Starlight Express, Op. 78, Act I: All the Rules I Swear to Keep $0.99 on iTunes
  13. Elgar — The Starlight Express, Op. 78, Act I: Are You Sure You Have Everything You Need? $0.99 on iTunes
  14. Elgar — The Starlight Express, Op. 78, Act II Scene 1: The Blue-eyed Fairy $0.99 on iTunes
  15. Elgar — The Starlight Express, Op. 78, Act II Scene 1: They Found a Clearing With the Open Sky Above Them $0.99 on iTunes
  16. Elgar — The Starlight Express, Op. 78, Act II Scene 1: Henry Explained That the Pleiades Had Been Attendants Upon Artemis … $0.99 on iTunes
  17. Elgar — The Starlight Express, Op. 78, Act II Scene 1: The Sun Has Gone $0.99 on iTunes
  18. Elgar — The Starlight Express, Op. 78, Act II Scene 1: The Sun Has Gone: Now, Cats Are Curious Creatures, and Riquette Was No Exception $0.99 on iTunes
  19. Elgar — The Starlight Express, Op. 78, Act II Scene 1: Turning Towards the Open Window … $0.99 on iTunes
  20. Elgar — The Starlight Express, Op. 78, Act II Scene 1: At Length Jinny Came Out of the Cave and Came Over to Them $0.99 on iTunes
  21. Elgar — The Starlight Express, Op. 78, Act II Scene 1: Could It Be? $0.99 on iTunes
  22. Elgar — The Starlight Express, Op. 78, Act II Scene 1: And With That the First Passenger Hurried By Them $0.99 on iTunes
  23. Elgar — The Starlight Express, Op. 78, Act II Scene 1: The Sweep $0.99 on iTunes
  24. Elgar — The Starlight Express, Op. 78, Act II Scene 1: Then a Fantastic, Light, Twirling Creature … $0.99 on iTunes
  25. Elgar — The Starlight Express, Op. 78, Act II Scene 1: And the Shabby Tramp, Playing His Barrel Organ $0.99 on iTunes
  26. Elgar — The Starlight Express, Op. 78, Act II Scene 1: Wake Up, You Little Night Winds $0.99 on iTunes
  27. Elgar — The Starlight Express, Op. 78, Act II Scene 1: Dance of the Winds $0.99 on iTunes
  28. Elgar — The Starlight Express, Op. 78, Act II Scene 1: Sun Dance $0.99 on iTunes
  29. Elgar — The Starlight Express, Op. 78, Act II Scene 2: Dandelions, Daffodils $0.99 on iTunes
  30. Elgar — The Starlight Express, Op. 78, Act II Scene 2: In Her Attic Chamber Above $0.99 on iTunes
  31. Elgar — The Starlight Express, Op. 78, Act II Scene 2: Henry Turned to the Children $0.99 on iTunes
  32. Elgar — The Starlight Express, Op. 78, Act II Scene 3: At the Citadelle $0.99 on iTunes
  33. Elgar — The Starlight Express, Op. 78, Act II Scene 3: O, Stars Shine Brightly $0.99 on iTunes
  34. Elgar — The Starlight Express, Op. 78, Act II Scene 3: The Sprites Had Almost Finished Their Task $0.99 on iTunes
  35. Elgar — The Starlight Express, Op. 78, Act II Scene 3: The Sprites Flitted Out, Back to the Starlight Express $0.99 on iTunes
  36. Elgar — The Starlight Express, Op. 78, Act II Scene 3: Dawn Song $0.99 on iTunes
  37. Elgar — The Starlight Express, Op. 78, Act III Scene 1: My Old Tunes $0.99 on iTunes
  38. Elgar — The Starlight Express, Op. 78, Act III Scene 1: Dandelions, Daffodils $0.99 on iTunes
  39. Elgar — The Starlight Express, Op. 78, Act III Scene 1: Miss Waghorn, Whose Confusion of Mind … $0.99 on iTunes
  40. Elgar — The Starlight Express, Op. 78, Act III Scene 1: My Main Idea Is This … $0.99 on iTunes
  41. Elgar — The Starlight Express, Op. 78, Act III Scene 1: Then Mother Spoke … $0.99 on iTunes

Album Summary

>Elgar, Edward : Starlight Express, Op. 78
>Carey, Clive : Songs (3) from "The Starlight Express", for voice & orchestra
>Elgar, Edward : The Starlight Express, suite for 2 voices & orchestra (arranged by Andrew Davis)
Performer Conductor Ensembles Composers

Notes & Reviews:

This fairytale melodrama was adapted from a book by Algernon Blackwood, A Prisoner in Fairyland, for a West End theatre production staged during World War 1, with music by Elgar. Based on a new score, which has been adapted by Sir Andrew Davis, who also here conducts the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, this is the most comprehensive recorded version to date. The two-disc set includes the incidental music with narrative by Simon Callow, and an extended suite of freestanding orchestral movements and songs.

The Guardian, 25th October 2012
There are moments of top-drawer, heart-stopping Elgar here...the music can either be heard as a suite that Davis has arranged, or in the context of the winsome original story - the play replaced with an avuncular narration by Simon Callow. The songs are delivered with just the right lightness of touch.

American Record Guide, March / April 2013
The best-known example is surely Handel's Messiah, a long, complex, though finally very powerful work. There are other good examples, such as Mendelssohn's Elijah that are still fairly often performed. Elgar has produced a number of works in this form; the best-known and most effective in performance are The Dream of Gerontius and The Kingdom. Sir Andrew Davis and his excellent soloists, chorus, and orchestral forces try hard to hang these pieces together and to make the symbolism of a celestial choochoo journey work effectively.

Gramophone Magazine, November 2012
Davis secures absolutely first-rate results from the Scottish CO. Elin Manahan Thomas's light and slivery soprano could hardly be more suited to the parts of the Laugher and Jane-Anne, while Roderick Williams is in glorious voice throughout.

Sunday Times, 11th November 2012
Elgar's score is enchanting - and Davis and the SCO deliver it with evident affection.

MusicWeb International, December 2012
Those who love this score as much as Elgar did - and I do - will welcome this new recording. It really has more light and shade than Handley's pioneering set welcome though that was at the time...all Elgarians must hear this superb set.

The Times, 21st December 2012
Fragrant stuff, beautifully performed.

The Independent on Sunday, 23rd December 2012
Elgar's score has an ageless freshness, and concludes with a handsome "The First Nowell".

BBC Music Magazine, January 2013
While the lyrics tend to the arch or winsome, most of the music is vintage light Elgar, and beautifully performed...This is a very valuable addition to the Elgar discography.

James Longstaffe, Presto Classical, 5th November 2012
[Callow] throws himself into the part with such gusto that it's hard not to be swept along by his wonderful characterisations...The real star of the recording, however, is very definitely Andrew Davis. Aside from writing the narration, he has also devised and recorded a suite of just the songs and orchestral interludes, which is ideal if you don't quite fancy the idea of listening to the whole lot in one go.

Notes & Reviews:

Recording information: Studio 80a, BBC Broadcasting House, Portland Place, Lon (05/28/2012-05/30/2012); Usher Hall, Edinburgh (05/28/2012-05/30/2012); Studio 80a, BBC Broadcasting House, Portland Place, Lon (08/03/2012); Usher Hall, Edinburgh (08/03/2012).



Reviews

All Aboard Elgar Express Fantasy
The Starlight Express by Edward Elgar is a two-CD set compiled from London and Edinburgh recordings, a production of the Scottish National Orchestra under the direction of Sir Andrew Davis. The setting in Edwardian Britain suggests the world of James Barriethe respectable family and beautiful children with boundless imaginations. Narrator Simon Callow sets the scenes and describes the actions; the listener is entranced and succumbs to the magic of fantasyland. The premise of having a secret star society becomes airborne, inviting the audience to slip into the starry sky for adventures among the constellations.


Baritone Roderick Williams and soprano Elin Manahan Thomas portray their roles beautifully. The lilting soprano especially is expressive and full of color. The Scottish National Orchestra never falters, providing the mood and background of the story. The accompanying booklet gives the listener essential background, because without an acquaintance with the tale and history, hearing the CDs would be almost nonsensical. Packaging is especially appealing, with the cover showing a fairy silhouette, steam engine, and starry sky. An attractive box contains the separate CDs and well-documented booklet.


The Starlight Express has not reigned in popularity despite the fetching story, first-rate performers, and Elgars luscious music. There are several limiting factors: the curious listener must be familiar with the composition or become lost in the back-and-forth of the characters and orchestra; this may be unfairly labeled as a childs production; the length of the program can lose the attention of the audience; while lovely, the melodies do not haunt and revisit the memory.


The story evokes other flights of fancy including Peter Pan, Wynken Blynken and Nod, and The Polar Express. Bedtime stories with the notion of magical travel for children continue to appeal to storytellers in new generations. Elgars invitation to climb aboard The Starlight Express offers the adventurer a ticket for an excursion to the land of fantasy and imagination.

Submitted on 02/08/13 by howsweetthesound 
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Works Details

>Elgar, Edward : Starlight Express, Op. 78
  • Performer: Roderick Williams (Bass Baritone)
  • Conductor: Andrew Davis
  • Ensemble: Scottish Chamber Orchestra
  • Notes: Usher Hall, Edinburgh (05/28/2012-05/30/2012); Studio 80a, BBC Broadcasting House, Portland Place, London (05/28/2012-05/30/2012); Usher Hall, Edinburgh (08/03/2012); Studio 80a, BBC Broadcasting House, Portland Place, London (08/03/2012)
  • Running Time: 25 min. 39 sec.
  • Period Time: Post Romantic
  • Written: 1915

>Carey, Clive : Songs (3) from "The Starlight Express", for voice & orchestra
  • Performer: Roderick Williams (Bass Baritone)
  • Conductor: Andrew Davis
  • Notes: Usher Hall, Edinburgh (05/28/2012-05/30/2012)
  • Running Time: 6 min. 8 sec.
  • Form: Vocal

>Elgar, Edward : The Starlight Express, suite for 2 voices & orchestra (arranged by Andrew Davis)
  • Performer: Roderick Williams (Bass Baritone)
  • Conductor: Andrew Davis
  • Notes: Usher Hall, Edinburgh (05/28/2012-05/30/2012)
  • Running Time: 41 min. 26 sec.
  • Period Time: Post Romantic