One of the most grown-up review sites around

2020
54,928 reviews
and more.. and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here

     
  
 

 

International mailing


 
Founder: Len Mullenger                                    Editor in Chief:John Quinn             


CD REVIEW

Some items
to consider

 

paid for
advertisements

Acte Prealable Polish recordings

Forgotten Recordings
Forgotten Recordings
All Forgotten Records Reviews


TROUBADISC
Troubadisc Weinberg- TROCD01450

100th birthday of Mieczyslaw Weinberg on December 8, 2019.
Renate Eggbrecht has recorded all 3 violin Sonatas
All Troubadisc reviews


FOGHORN Classics

Alexandra-Quartet
Brahms String Quartets

All Foghorn Reviews


All HDTT reviews

Love-violin-NI6428
Salon Treasures from the Max Jaffa Library

 

 


Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing
sample

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
   
Rob Barnett
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Contributing Editor
Ralph Moore
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
Postmaster
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger

 

Discs for review may be sent to:
Jonathan Woolf
76 Lushes Road
Loughton
Essex IG10 3QB
United Kingdom

jonathan_woolf@yahoo.co.uk


 


alternatively AmazonUK

Edward ELGAR (1857-1934)
Sea Pictures Op.37 (1899) [23:05]
The Music Makers Op.69 (1912) [39:39]
Sarah Connolly (mezzo)
Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra/Simon Wright
rec. The Concert Hall, Lighthouse, Poole, January 2006
NAXOS 8.557710 [62:44]



However much one tries not to acknowledge the fact it’s inevitable that the three B’s - Baker, Boult and Barbirolli – hover benignly over this release. The famous coupling of Sea Pictures and the du Pré Cello Concerto has seen service for forty years now. And Baker’s association with Boult was no less noteworthy in respect of The Music Makers. So, tough acts and all that.
 
I think Connolly survives the inevitable comparisons as well as could be expected. She’s probably the most outstanding of the current crop of British mezzos and her singing here is often distinguished.
 
Sea Pictures is the more immediately and overtly exciting work, pitching the soloist straight into the fray whereas The Music Makers reserves her for later and its mingling of poetry, Straussian self-quotation and nostalgia can take a while to appreciate. One of Connolly’s prominent technical advantages is the resonant and excellently sustained lower part of the voice – it means that vocal weight is well distributed throughout the range and she’s as comfortable in the chest range as in the more declamatory writing. The former quality is very much audible in Sea Slumber-Song, the latter in Sabbath Morning at Sea. Here one finds the she uses quite a bit of rubato and builds to the climax with real perception. No one has yet done it like Baker but Connolly eclipses quite a number of other contenders here, especially those who are inclined to squall. She’s also very attentive to the words – not that they’re necessarily much in themselves - like any number of composers Elgar liked setting bad texts. But Where Corals Lie has a serene poetry all its own and Connolly does very well by it. Dramatic and fluid the climax of The Swimmer caps a fine vocal performance, one I’d be happy to recommend. The orchestral backing though is inclined to be a touch undernourished. One appreciates the well-balanced harp, and much of the connective tissue of the writing but Wright and the Bournemouth Orchestra offer nothing genuinely diverting.
 
I think this is more of a problem in The Music Makers. Wright sets off just slightly too jauntily a tempo – a more relaxed and steady speed would probably have been better. The self-quotations emerge from the fabric of the score with requisite immediacy but there’s little that really lifts them beyond the merely self-referential. There’s a lack of real rapture and soulfulness. That’s true when one compares him with Boult and also true when one measures this performance against that of Andrew Davis on Warner [2564 62199-2] who has Jean Rigby with him. And it is also the case that the 2004 Proms performance given by the late Lorraine Hunt Lieberson, who gave a mesmerising performance that I hope will be issued commercially. In comparison with these kinds of intensities the new Connolly/Wright performance burns rather less brightly.
 
But I should stress again that Connolly is a splendid singer and much of her contribution is of a very high standard. To get closer to the heart of these works though the mezzo is not enough; as for recommendations Baker obviously in both but also Rigby and Davis in The Music Makers – these are still my preferred choices.
 
Jonathan Woolf        
 
British Composers on Naxos page

 

 

 


Advertising on
Musicweb


Donate and keep us afloat

 

New Releases

Naxos Classical
All Naxos reviews

Chandos recordings
All Chandos reviews

Hyperion recordings
All Hyperion reviews

Foghorn recordings
All Foghorn reviews

Troubadisc recordings
All Troubadisc reviews



all Bridge reviews


all cpo reviews

Divine Art recordings
Click to see New Releases
Get 10% off using code musicweb10
All Divine Art reviews

Eloquence recordings
All Eloquence reviews

Lyrita recordings
All Lyrita Reviews

 

Wyastone New Releases
Obtain 10% discount

Recordings of the Month

July 2022

John Luther Adams Houses of the Wind
John Luther Adams
Houses of the Wind

Horneman Alladin
Horneman Alladin

Stojowski piano concertos
Piano Concertos 1 & 2

Vaughan Williams on Brass


Yi Lin Jiang - Dualis I

June 2022


Beethoven Sonatas 29, 32


Orchestral Works


String Quartets Vol 1

 

 

 

Return to Review Index

Untitled Document


Reviews from previous months
Join the mailing list and receive a hyperlinked weekly update on the discs reviewed. details
We welcome feedback on our reviews. Please use the Bulletin Board
Please paste in the first line of your comments the URL of the review to which you refer.