Nottingham Classics at the Royal Concert Hall
Recordings from the 2016 - 2017 season orchestras and soloists
Product no.: CD HLL 7544
ELGAR & BAX - FOR THE FALLEN - HALLÉ • Sir Mark Elder
Edward Elgar (1857–1934) The Spirit of England for soprano, chorus and orchestra, Op.80; Rachel Nicholls, soprano, Halle Choir (Madeleine Venner, choral director)
A Voice in the Wilderness (Une Voi x dans le Desert), Op.77; Joshua Ellicott, narrator • Jennifer France, soprano
Grania and Diarmid, Op.42; Madeleine Shaw, mezzo-soprano
Arnold Bax (1883–1953) In Memoriam
The latest release in Hallé’s award winning series of recordings of works by Elgar couples his last great choral work with a fascinating collection of works which similarly remember the departed.
Previous Elgar choral releases of The Dream of Gerontius (CD HLD 7520), The Kingdom (HLD 7526) and The Apostles (CD HLD 7534) were universally acclaimed, winning numerous awards, including a Gramophone Award for each release.
The largely overlooked The Spirit of Eng land is arguably Elgar’s last great choral work. Thematically linked to The Dream of Gerontius the work sets texts from WWI poets and was premiered in sections during 1916 and 1917. In tone it is close to the melancholy of the Cello Concerto and Britten referred to its music as displaying “a personal tenderness and grief” as well as “genuine splendour”.
The melodrama (spoken words with musical accompaniment) of A Voice in the Wilderness movingly depicts the contrasting moods of the desolate and subdued Western Front by night and the soaring, aspiring lines given to a war-time Belgian peasant girl. The remaining two works on the album present works inspired by Irish literature. Grania and
Bax’s rarely performed orchestral work In Memoriam is subtitled ‘An Irish Elegy’. It reflects the composer’s passionate interest in, and love for, Ireland, her literature and her tragic early twentieth century history – including the Easter Rising of April 1916 and the subsequent execution of some of its leaders which deeply shocked Bax. The resultant music contracts outbursts of ange r with episodes featuring melody of profound sadness and lyricism.
“Of all the artistic tributes marking the centenary of the first world war, few have been as remarkable in concept and execution as this Hallé concert: not least because it enabled Mark Elder to realise a long-held ambition to perform Arnold Bax’s extraordinarily obscure tribute to the leaders of the 1916 Easter Rising, In Memoriam.” The Guardian