Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

A Passion for Sir Mark

Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

A Passion for Sir Mark

Article excerpt

IT is goodbye, 2012. So here are ROBERT BEALE's top ten classical CDs of the year...

Elgar: The Apostles. Soloists, Halle Choir, Youth Choir and Orchestra, conducted by Sir Mark Elder (Halle HLD 7534, 2 CDs, mid- price) This was the highlight of them all, based on the amazing concert performance. It is Elgar's Passion - but not a Bachian one, it's in the tradition of English oratorio - and it depicts the resurrection and ascension of Jesus, too. Elgar's selection of his texts is masterly, and so is his imaginative concept of Temple worship as the background to the narrative.

Sir Mark's sense of drama comes out in 'scenes' such as the call of the disciples, the storm on the lake, the arrest and Peter's denial. His sense of structural logic is sure, with highpoints in Peter's confession of Jesus as Messiah, the crucifixion and the colossal final climax.

'The Organist' - Jonathan Scott at the T C Lewis organ of Albion Church, Ashton under Lyne (Scott Brothers SBDRCD006, full price) A personal enthusiasm, I admit, but the sound of this superb late 19th century instrument is put to great effect in a programme of organ music favourites. Bossi's Scherzo, Guilmant's March on Lift Up Your Heads, Cocker's Tuba Tune and the Final of Vierne's first symphony are all sheer joy.

Haydn: The Creation. Soloists, Boston Baroque, conducted by Martin Pearlman (Linn CKD 401, 2 CDs, full price) Like an old oil painting restored to its original brightness, this edition of the old choral society favourite springs to life with scholarship and imaginative presentation in double harness.

Alexandra Dariescu recital (Champs Hill Records CHRCD035, full price) An impressive debut recital disc from one of the RNCM's recent piano stars. She plays Schumann (Variations on ABEGG), Liszt (Ballade no 2), and Chopin (Andante Spianato, Grande Polonaise Brillante, Ballade no 4) with equal inspiration. …

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