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ELGAR The Longed for Light

Polonia (1915) Carillon for speaker and orchestra (1914) Sospiri (1914)
Une Voix dans le Désert
for speaker, soprano and orchestra (1915) Carissima (1914)
Le Drapeau Belge
for speaker and orchestra (1917) Rosemary (1915) The Sanguine Fan, ballet music (1917) Sursum Corda (1894)

Simon Callow (speaker) Susan Gritton (soprano)
BBC Concert Orchestra/John Wilson


An admirable release which extends knowledge and appreciation of Elgar for today's listeners. I recall Boult championing The Sanguine Fan and am pleased to become re-acquainted with it in a strong and persuasive performance. Une Voix dans le Désert and Le Drapeau Belge are fine war inspired works, given full value here.

For a fuller review, see Music Web

Elgar Starlight Express

From Elgar, 1915, incidental music for a hopelessly dated children's play which is unlikely to appeal now in this form to children of any age, or their great grandparents, not even with Simon Callow as indefatigable narrator...

There are some great tunes and the singers are fine.

There is a useful alternative which many listeners will prefer within the boxed set, Andrew Davis's 45 mins Suite which can be heard separately and comprises half of the second disc.

Maybe that will lend itself to purchase by downloading, but I cannot see the boxed double CD as viable, at a 'special offer' of c. £17 from MDT...

However, there is a A L Webber musical "the most successful of all time"* which had passed us by, and which might explain its CD release?

Peter Grahame Woolf

See the Webber finale with roller skating on YouTube