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Land Of Hope & Glory - The Last Night Of The Proms

Norrington / London Phil Orch
Release Date: 04/14/2008 
Label:  Eloquence   Catalog #: 4800476  
Composer:  Thomas Augustine ArneSir William WaltonCharles Villiers StanfordRalph Vaughan Williams,   ... 
Performer:  Sarah WalkerThomas AllenDiana MontagueStephen Roberts,   ... 
Conductor:  Roger Norrington
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic OrchestraLondon Philharmonic Choir
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

A great collection of British favourites … just right for any time of year.

This CD is a rollicking delight, both musically and patriotically! The extended booklet note from Evans Mirageas, one of the Decca bosses responsible for getting this recording together, explains that Decca wanted “to have in the catalogue recordings of some of the great music associated with the Henry Wood Proms Concerts, but without all the screaming and shouting and applause… and jumping up and down.” This very well selected programme achieves this triumphantly.

The choice of programme contains all the predictable last night favourites, but for once we hear them in the rarefied environment of a studio recording, and what good
Read more music this is! I have never really appreciated Henry Wood’s marvellous Fantasia on British Sea Songs because every time I’ve heard it, it has been to the visual accompaniment of fake tears and people in Union Jack t-shirts bobbing up and down, but this marvellous performance from Norrington and the LPO treats the music sincerely without taking it too seriously and they respond to the widely divergent moods of the piece most satisfyingly. Good use of the acoustic with the opening trumpet calls too. In fact this disc treats us to both Proms versions of Rule Britannia. The disc opens with the - altogether more satisfying - version arranged by Sir Malcolm Sargent which used to be the traditional last-night version sung by a soloist. It was, however, dropped during the 2001 season - apparently conductor Leonard Slatkin thought such jingoism inappropriate in the wake of the 9/11 attacks - and, scandalously, it has never returned. Instead since 2002 we have been given the choral arrangement of Rule Britannia that ends Wood’s Fantasia though word has it that Sargent’s version will make a comeback on this year’s last night. Now you can compare the two (though Wood’s version has no choir on this CD), and Sarah Walker’s mezzo does a splendid job of singing the patriotic words. Other favourites like Crown Imperial and Jerusalem come off as splendidly as you would expect from a London orchestra and chorus.

The less regular items are just as well chosen, however. Thomas Allen sings an alluring account of Stanford’s Songs of the Sea, capturing the many diverse moods of the piece from the gentle lilt of Homeward Bound to the bumptious shanty of The Old Superb. How fitting, also, to include the Serenade to Music which Vaughan Williams composed as a tribute to Sir Henry Wood on his Golden Jubilee as a conductor in 1938. The premiere of the work contained an astonishing group of soloists including Isobel Baillie, Eva Turner and Heddle Nash. Decca have also assembled a mouth-watering cast for this recording - more of which is discussed in the booklet notes - even telling us whose part from the original performance they are singing. Yet I find this to be the only minor disappointment in this collection. The blissful orchestral introduction is full of the “soft stillness” that the piece praises and the performance is full of very characterful individual contributions. The soloists don’t seem to blend well, however, particularly at the beginning of the piece, and the great tutti passage in the middle is a little in-your-face! Is it too much to imagine that they’re trying to outdo each other? Whatever way, if you can live with this then you’ll enjoy a noteworthy performance.

All in all, then, a great collection of British favourites that are just right for any time of the year, very well recorded and performed … and at a great price too! You won’t be disappointed.

-- Simon Thompson, MusicWeb International
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Works on This Recording

1. Alfred: Rule Britannia by Thomas Augustine Arne
Performer:  Sarah Walker (Mezzo Soprano)
Conductor:  Roger Norrington
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1740; England 
2. Coronation March "Crown Imperial" by Sir William Walton
Conductor:  Roger Norrington
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1937; England 
3. Songs (5) of the sea, Op. 91 by Charles Villiers Stanford
Performer:  Thomas Allen (Baritone)
Conductor:  Roger Norrington
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1904; England 
4. Serenade to music by Ralph Vaughan Williams
Performer:  Diana Montague (Mezzo Soprano), Stephen Roberts (Baritone), Felicity Lott (Soprano),
Ann Murray (Mezzo Soprano), Rosa Mannion (Soprano), Anthony Rolfe Johnson (Tenor),
Catherine Wyn-Rogers (Mezzo Soprano), John Mark Ainsley (Tenor), Lisa Milne (Soprano),
Timothy Robinson (Tenor), Della Jones (Mezzo Soprano), Toby Spence (Tenor),
Christopher Maltman (Baritone), Yvonne Kenny (Soprano), Michael George (Bass),
Robert Lloyd (Bass)
Conductor:  Roger Norrington
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra,  London Philharmonic Choir
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1938; England 
5. Pomp and Circumstance Marches (5), Op. 39: no 1 in D major by Sir Edward Elgar
Conductor:  Roger Norrington
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1901; England 
6. Jerusalem by Charles Hubert Parry
Conductor:  Roger Norrington
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1916; England 
7. Fantasia on British Sea Songs by Sir Henry Wood
Conductor:  Roger Norrington
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra,  London Philharmonic Choir
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1905; England 

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  1 Customer Review )
 Praise for British Proms music July 4, 2012 By ROBERT T. (PORTLAND, OR) See All My Reviews "Conductor Sir Roger Norrington and the London Philharmonic Orchestra and Choir perform in classic style on this CD of Proms music. All the old favorites. Thomas Allen in superb voice is a real plus. A must for Brit proms fans like me." Report Abuse
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