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Elgar: Starlight Express, Wand Of Youth, Etc / Mackerras


Release Date: 09/17/2007 
Label:  Decca   Catalog #: 433214   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Sir Edward Elgar
Performer:  Bryn TerfelAlison Hagley
Conductor:  Sir Charles Mackerras
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Welsh National Opera Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 14 Mins. 

Special Order: This CD requires additional production time and ships within 2-3 weeks.  

This CD is reissued by ArkivMusic.

Notes and Editorial Reviews

Many composers have shown insight into the world of the child, but Elgar's nostalgia for his childhood, or rather for an idealized notion of how his childhood should have been, was particularly strong. His Wand of Youth suites of 1907 were based on material originally composed when he was 12 years old. In 1915 he was asked to write incidental music for a children's play by Algernon Blackwood, The Starlight Express, and responded with a poignantly expressive 80-minute-long score, in which he re-used some of the Wand of Youth material. Vernon Handley recorded an excellent account of the complete score for EMI in the mid-1970s, but the double-CD reissue (1/90) was quickly deleted, largely I suspect because it was inaptly coupled with Delius's Read more Hassan music.

Argo's well-recorded new disc contains all the vocal items, with the exception of the ''Curfew song''—rather less than half the complete material. Bryn Terfel is listed by Argo as a bass, but his attractive voice has baritonal qualities and he brings an appropriately light and imaginative touch to his songs. Alison Hagley has less opportunity to shine. Nevertheless, she sings most beautifully and her contributions have warmth and insight. Mackerras conducts very sympathetically, although he is perhaps a little too restrained and the orchestral playing could have slightly more bounce and flair.

In The Wand of Youth suites Mackerras characterizes the music more strongly. He captures the wistful charm of the quieter pieces very effectively, and spirits are high in the more robust items. In ''The Tame Bear'' from Suite No. 2 the percussion section should provide a strong counterpoint to the two main tunes, but here it is too reticent. Otherwise all is well. The two Dream Children pieces are affectionately played.

-- Gramophone [10/1992]
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Works on This Recording

1.
Starlight Express, Op. 78 by Sir Edward Elgar
Performer:  Bryn Terfel (Baritone), Alison Hagley (Soprano)
Conductor:  Sir Charles Mackerras
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Welsh National Opera Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1915; England 
2.
The Wand of Youth Suite no 1, Op. 1a by Sir Edward Elgar
Conductor:  Sir Charles Mackerras
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Welsh National Opera Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1907; England 
3.
The Wand of Youth Suite no 2, Op. 1b by Sir Edward Elgar
Conductor:  Sir Charles Mackerras
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Welsh National Opera Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1908; England 
4.
Dream Children, Op. 43 by Sir Edward Elgar
Conductor:  Sir Charles Mackerras
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Welsh National Opera Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1902; England 

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