Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Edward Elgar: The Crown of India on Chandos

Edward ELGAR (1857-1934) CD 1 The Crown of India - An Imperial Masque in Two Tableaux, Op.66 (1912) orch. completed by Anthony Payne; Text by Henry Hamilton Clare Shearer (mezzo); Gerald Finley (baritone); Barbara Martin (speaker); Deborah McAndrew (speaker); Joanne Mitchell (speaker)CD 2 The Crown of India - An Imperial Masque in Two Tableaux Op.66 (1912) orch. completed by Anthony Payne. Text by Henry Hamilton. Version without spoken parts. Edited by Sir Andrew Davis. Imperial March, Op.32 (1896-97) [4:29] The Coronation March, Op.65 (1911) The Empire March (1924) Clare Shearer (mezzo); Gerald Finley (baritone) Sheffield Philharmonic Chorus BBC Philharmonic/Andrew Davis CHANDOS CHAN 10570(2)

I recently had the pleasure of reviewing this new release from Chandos. I must confess that I found it a difficult piece to come to terms with. In fact I concluded my review by suggesting that although “I have not really made my mind up about this piece yet, this CD is a must for all Elgar cognoscenti even if they are, like me, not over-enthusiastic about the main event...”
I enjoyed some of the music from The Crown of India. I certainly enjoyed the fine performances by Sir Andrew Davis, the soloists and speakers and the BBC Philharmonic. I appreciate the amount of work that Anthony Payne has invested in this project to realise the score. But was it worth it? I will probably not listen to this work again but I will occasionally play The Crown of India Suite. However, it is important to know that a version of this legendary work is available for pleasure, analysis and study. The amount of effort that has been required to realise this masque may seem to some a little excessive and perhaps misdirected.

Please read my full review at MusicWeb International

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