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Détails sur le produit

  • Interprète: Alan Opie, Barry Banks, Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra & Choir, Choir of Collegiûm Mûsicûm, Edward Grieg Kor, et al.
  • CD (24 février 2015)
  • : Requires SACD-compatible hardware
  • Nombre de disques: 2
  • Format : Super Audio CD
  • Label: Chandos Records Ltd
  • ASIN : B00QMTDBO0
  • Autres éditions : CD
  • Moyenne des commentaires client : 5.0 étoiles sur 5 1 commentaire client
  • Classement des meilleures ventes d'Amazon: 133.155 en CD & Vinyles (Voir les 100 premiers en CD & Vinyles)
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Description du produit

Description du produit

Frühe Chorwerke

Das Oratorium The Dream of Gerontius ist zwar das bekannteste symphonische Chorwerk von Edward Elgar, aber natürlich bei weitem nicht das einzige. Elgar-Experte Sir Andrew Davis macht hier mit zwei in Deutschland zwar eher unbekannten, in England aber sehr populären frühen Chorwerken des Komponisten bekannt, die beide maßgeblich zur Reputation Elgars als führendem Komponisten Englands beitrugen.

Zwei in Deutschland unbekannte chorsymphonische Werke mit denen dem jungen Elgar der Durchbruch gelang

After having recorded Elgar's The Dream of Gerontius ('Recording of the Month' in BBC Music), Sir Andrew Davis now turns to two of the composer's most popular early choral works: Scenes from the Saga of King Olaf and The Banner of Saint George. The recording was made soon after a successful performance, featuring the same 'excellent Bergen Philharmonic' and 'outstanding' vocal forces: the 'imposing' baritone Alan Opie, the 'high, incisive tenor' Barry Banks, singing 'fearlessly in some quite challenging passages', and the American soprano Emily Birsan, who sang 'with radiant delicacy' (The Daily Telegraph).

Dating from his years of 'apprenticeship', the two works shaped Elgar's reputation as a leading orchestrator and most popular British composer of his time. The secular cantata Scenes from the Saga of King Olaf derives from Longfellow's epic poem about Olaf Tryggvason, who became King of Norway in 995. While the text was heavily adapted and augmented, the use of sophisticated compositional techniques, such as extensive motivic work, resulted in music of great power and solemnity.

The ballad The Banner of Saint George is based on the story of Saint George of Cappadocia, as related by the Bristol poet Shapcott Wensley. It was commissioned by Britain's leading publisher, Novello, and composed in only one month in 1896. Elgar overcame the prescriptive nature of the words and produced a work of lasting charm, the music rising above the material to create atmosphere, momentum, and colour.

Critique

Sir Andrew Davis, who has already brought us a first-rate Dream of Gerontius on Chandos (CHSA 5140(2)), here turns his attention to two earlier Elgar choral works, Scenes from the Saga of King Olaf of 1896 and The Banner of St George of 1897. Given that Olaf was a king of Norway, what could be more appropriate than harnessing the forces of the Bergen Philharmonic Choir and Orchestra? The text of the saga is transmuted through an adaptation of the poetry of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow he of the once-popular Hiawatha by Samuel Coleridge-Taylor but the power of the performance suggests that there must be a strong emotional resonance for the Norwegian musicians in reflecting on their 10th-century monarch. While it is often said that Elgar's quintessential Englishness can prove elusive to interpreters who have not been brought up in the same tradition, this performance, with such a master of the idiom as Davis at the helm, shows how well it can be assimilated. The Bergen orchestra plays with a keen ear for colour and dramatic flux, and the chorus amplified here by the choir of the Collegiûm Mûsicûm and by the Edvard Grieg Kor makes the narrative live and breathe in suppleness, expressive sensitivity and lusty power. Added to that, three fine soloists in the soprano Emily Birsan, tenor Barry Banks and baritone Alan Opie carry the story with great distinction, subtlety and immediacy of impact. The Banner of St George, for all the pomp and circumstance of the title, begins as a gentler tale of the plight befalling the maidens of Sylenë, who are daily offered up as propitiations to the local dragon. Enter St George, armed with his sword Ascalon. The dragon is slain, leading to an epilogue declaiming: It comes from the misty ages,/The banner of England's might,/The blood-red cross of the brave St George,/That burns on a field of white! The poetry by Shapcott Wensley is very much of its time, but Elgar's music transcends it in dramatic strength and scope, adding an extra frisson to this rewarding disc. **** --Telegraph, 07/02/15

Before the success of the Enigma Variations in 1899 firmly cemented his reputation, Elgar was chiefly known for his choral works, most of which he d composed for the choir festivals of the English Midlands. Though these pieces The Black Knight, The Light of Life, King Olaf and Caractacus were subsequently eclipsed by the three great oratorios of his maturity, The Dream of Gerontius, The Apostles and The Kingdom, and subsided into Victorian obscurity, the occasional performances they do receive not only show how many of the characteristics of the later, greater Elgar were already present in both his choral and his orchestral writing, but also that the works themselves, though sometimes uneven, are much more than routine 19th-century choral fodder. Andrew Davis seems to be on a mission to rehabilitate some of these neglected scores. He made an impressive case for Caractacus at the Three Choirs Festival in Worcester in 2011, and last year in Bergen he turned his attention to its predecessor, Scenes from the Saga of King Olaf, following up his concert there with this recording. The cantata has strong connections with the latter city: Longfellow's poem, on which it's based, resulted from the poet's friendship with the Bergen-born violinist and composer Ole Bull, and recounts the exploits of the 10th-century Norwegian king Olaf Tryggvason, who imposed Christianity on his country. The rhyming couplets of that text and the rather clunky scenario count against Elgar's setting, which was first performed in 1896. But some of the music is very fine indeed. There are echoes of Wagner, but also many anticipations of what was to come over the next decade - wonderfully controlled, hushed choral writing that looks forward to Gerontius, and radiant, vivid orchestral scoring and memorable melodic writing that could have come from the Enigma Variations. Only some of the solo numbers lack real individuality, and that s when the work lapses briefly into English-oratorio routine. King Olaf has been recorded in full once before, in the 1980s, when it was conducted by Vernon Handley for EMI. Fine though that version is, Davis's is better: it has a dramatic sweep and concern for detail that you don t get from Handley. The Bergen orchestra and choir play and sing Elgar as though it were part of their regular repertoire, while the soloists - soprano Emily Birsan, tenor Barry Banks and baritone Alan Opie all cope well with what is sometimes strenuous vocal writing. The set also includes the ballad for chorus and orchestra, The Banner of Saint George, which Elgar composed for the diamond jubilee of Queen Victoria in 1897. The text, a poem by one Shapcott Wensley, makes Longfellow seem like Dante, but once again the music transcends it; it's not top-drawer Elgar, but it still surpassed anything his English contemporaries were producing. **** ONE OF THE GUARDIAN'S TOP CLASSICAL RECORDS OF THE YEAR --Guardian, 5/2/15

Elgar's music crackles with confident vitality presaging great things. Performance ***** Recording ***** BBC MUSIC CHORAL AND SONG CHOICE.BBC Music Magazine, Apr'15 /// For devotees of Elgar and of English choral music of the late Victorian era, this pulsating recording has all those emotional attributes that make the heart beat faster. --Gramophone, Mar'15


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