Hallé Orchestra

Orchestra

Founded in Manchester by Sir Charles Hallé in 1858, the Hallé gave its first concert in the city’s Free Trade Hall on 30 January of that year. Following the death of Sir Charles Hallé, the orchestra continued to develop under the guidance of such distinguished figures as Dr Hans Richter, Sir Hamilton Harty and Sir John Barbirolli. Mark Elder became Music Director in 2000 and was knighted by the Queen for services to music in 2008. In November 2011, he was awarded Honorary Membership of the Royal Philharmonic Society.

The Hallé performs over 70 concerts a year in The Bridgewater Hall, its Manchester home, as well as making over 40 appearances annually throughout the rest of Britain. Its reputation for artistic excellence has led to many international tours, frequent broadcasts and televised performances.

The Hallé’s own CD label features the music of English composers, as well as Debussy, Wagner and Shostakovich. A number of recordings have been honoured with prestigious awards including five Gramophone Awards between 2009 and 2011. The Hallé has also been honoured with the South Bank Award for its celebrated collaborations with the BBC Philharmonic, Royal Northern College of Music and the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra.

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Brahms: Piano Concertos

Brahms: Piano Concertos


Brahms:

Piano Concerto No. 1 in D minor, Op. 15

Piano Concerto No. 2 in B flat major, Op. 83


Sunwook Kim (piano)

Hallé, Sir Mark Elder

Hallé and Sir Mark Elder are reunited with Sunwook Kim in long awaited studio recordings of repertoire with which he won the Leeds Piano Competition.

London-based Sunwook Kim came to international recognition when he won the prestigious Leeds International Piano Competition in 2006, aged just 18, becoming the competition’s youngest winner for 40 years, as well as its first Asian winner.

His performance of Brahms’s Concerto No.1 with Hallé and Sir Mark Elder in the competition’s finals attracted unanimous praise from the press. Since then, he has established a reputation as one of the finest pianists of his generation, appearing as a concerto soloist with many of the world’s leading orchestras and in major recital venues in London, across Europe and in Japan.

Sunwook Kim has a lso enjoyed an ongoing relationship with the Hallé Orchestra and Sir Mark Elder, performing in a variety of repertoire across a number of seasons.

Here they return to Brahms’ two masterworks; pieces which were separated by two decades and which display very differing musical and emotional outlooks, from the more ardent First to the more rhapsodic Second.

“The South Korean pianist (who won the Leeds Piano Competition when he was just 18) and Elder seem to be in perfect synchrony for these immaculately-paced performances - the music is given so much space to breathe and sing, so that the big climactic moments are thrown into even greater relief. The Hallé horns, in particular, are also at the top of their game.” Katherine Cooper, Presto Classical, May 2017

“Elder paces each work perfectly, giving Kim room to breathe...There are more glorious orchestral colours in the monumental second concerto, with Kim in magisterial form, particularly in the driving allegro appassionato. This special alchemy is highly recommended.” The Observer, 7th May 2017 *****

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Simon Holt: a table of noises

Simon Holt: a table of noises


Holt, Simon:

a table of noises

St Vitus in the kettle

witness to a snow miracle


This fourth, full-length album of music by multi award-winning composer Simon Holt on NMC showcases his highly narrative orchestral compositions. His violin concerto witness to a snow miracle – here performed by the prodigiously talented Chloë Hanslip – depicts the story of the life, and particularly gruesome death, of St Eulalia of Merida. From the initial, frenzied cadenza in the solo violin we get a sense of the torment and horror the saint suffered at the hands of the Romans: her flesh torn with hooks, fl ames applied to the wounds, and her body buried in hot coals. A blanket of snow fell on her ashes, at which point she was declared a saint. Holt's other award-winning concerto on this album is a much more upbeat and quirky affair. Written for and performed on this recording by one of the world's fi nest percussionists, Colin Currie, a table of noises introduces us to Holt's taxidermist great uncle Ashworth, a kind of maverick scientist-cum-collector. Currie says "this percussion concerto exuberantly tears up the manual on how to approach the medium and I am thrilled with the idiosyncratic, adventurous results". The soloist is seated on a cajon (a box-shaped instrument often used in fl amenco), and apart from the xylophone and glockenspiel, all the other instruments are laid out on a table in front of the soloist; hence the title. Each brief movement has a descriptive title (eg. a drawer full of eyes (discovered by Holt’s mother in Ash’s bedroom tallboy and Skennin’ Mary (a neighbour with a glass eye that spun when she became angry) and is linked by fi ve “ghost” orchestral interludes.

The short, dazzling, orchestral work St Vitus in the kettle was commissioned by BBC National Orchestra of Wales during Holt's tenure as Composer-in-Association (2008-2014). The grisly end for this saint was a cauldron of boiling hot lead!

“Witness to a Snow Miracle, for violin and orchestra, is not only one of Simon Holt’s finest achievements to date, but one of the most memorable British orchestral scores of the last 30 years...Hanslip’s solo violin seems to veer between portraying the child saint herself and being an onlooker at her gruesome martyrdom.” The Guardian, 23rd March 2017 *****

“quick-witted and haunting. Colin Currie is the soloist in this affectionate and entertaining work, while Nicholas Collon conducts the Hallé” Financial Times, 31st March 2017

“The performances are difficult to fault” Gramophone Magazine, May 2017

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Tarik O'Regan: A Celestial Map of the Sky

Tarik O'Regan: A Celestial Map of the Sky


O'Regan:

A Celestial Map of the Sky

Hallé, Hallé Youth Choir & The Manchester Grammar School Choir, Sir Mark Elder

Latent Manifest

Hallé, Jamie Phillips

RaÏ

Hallé, Jamie Phillips

Chaâbi

Hallé, Jamie Phillips

Fragments from Heart of Darkness

Hallé, Jamie Phillips

Now fatal change

BONUS TRACK (download only single)

Ryland Angel (countertenor) & Lara St. John (violin)


Tarik O'Regan's title work A Celestial Map of the Sky, here performed by a children's choir with the Hallé, is a vibrant work with propulsive, syncopated rhythms contrasting darker moments of refl ection. The work is inspired by two woodcuts engraved by German polymath Albrecht Dürer in 1510 that are amongst the oldest known printed European star charts of the northern and southern celestial hemispheres.

A deep-rooted interest in North African traditional music (Tarik's family are from Morocco and Algeria) shapes two of the orchestral works on this album. Raï and Chaâbi are not ethnographic studies but are infl uenced by Algerian folk music forms.

Latent Manifest is an ingenious expansion of a single gesture from a Bach sonata, magnifi ed to create an entire universe of orchestral colour.

To close the album, Fragments from Heart of Darkness draws on the music from O'Regan's chamber opera Heart of Darkness, based on the novel of the same name by Joseph Conrad.

The bonus download track, Now fatal change, for countertenor and violin, is a reworking of material found in Chaâbi and is set to the same text by Nahum Tate that Purcell used for Tell me, some pitying angel.

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For the fallen: Elgar & Bax

For the fallen: Elgar & Bax


Bax:

In Memoriam

Elgar:

The Spirit of England, Op. 80: For the Fallen

Rachel Nicholls (soprano)

Hallé Choir

Une Voix dans le Désert

Joshua Ellicott (narrator), Jennifer France (soprano)

Grania and Diarmid, Op. 42 - Incidental Music

Madeleine Shaw (mezzo)


The latest release in Hallé’s award winning series of recordings of works by Elgar couples his last great choral work with a fascinating collection of works which similarly remember the departed.

Previous Elgar choral releases of The Dream of Gerontius (CDHLD7520), The Kingdom (HLD7526) and The Apostles (CDHLD7534) were universally acclaimed, winning numerous awards, including a Gramophone Award for each release.

The largely overlooked The Spirit of England is arguably Elgar’s last great choral work. Thematically linked to The Dream of Gerontius the work sets texts from WWI poets and was premiered in sections during 1916 and 1917. In tone it is close to the melancholy of the Cello Concerto and Britten referred to its music as displaying “a personal tenderness and grief” as well as “genuine splendour”.

The melodrama (spoken words with musical accompaniment) of A Voice in the Wilderness movingly depicts the contrasting moods of the desolate and subdued Western Front by night and the soaring, aspiring lines given to a war-time Belgian peasant girl.

The remaining two works on the album present works inspired by Irish literature. Grania and Diarmid was a play based on tales of Irish mythology.

Elgar’s music for the play, a story of tragic entangled love, was described by playright W.B. Yeats as “wonderful in its heroic melancholy”.

Bax’s rarely performed orchestral work In Memoriam is subtitled ‘An Irish Elegy’. It reflects the composer’s passionate interest in, and love for, Ireland, her literature and her tragic early twentieth century history – including the Easter Rising of April 1916 and the subsequent execution of some of its leaders which deeply shocked Bax. The resultant music contracts outbursts of anger with episodes featuring melody of profound sadness and lyricism.

“Elgar’s beautifully imagined score [of A Voice in the Wilderness] is graced with two very fine performances, from Joshua Ellicott’s narrator (his delivery and accent are pitched exactly right), and from soprano Jennifer France, whose touch with the girl’s song is an object-lesson in how to be affection without affectation” BBC Music Magazine, March 2017 ****

“Elder emphasises the elegiac melancholy of Elgar’s ostensibly “patriotic” works. The pieces may be shavings from the master’s workbench, but they enhance the conductor’s continuing Elgar edition with playing that surpasses the Hallé’s heyday under Barbirolli.” Sunday Times, 26th February 2017

“[A Voice in the Desert] soprano Jennifer France is in radiant voice and narrator Joshua Ellicott's refreshingly natural delivery of the English text most empathetic. Complete with superior production values, exhaustive booklet-notes and full texts, this stimulating collection deserves every success.” Gramophone Magazine, March 2017

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Hallé - CDHLL7544

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Benjamin Dale: Romance for Viola and Orchestra

Benjamin Dale: Romance for Viola and Orchestra


Clarke, Rebecca:

Viola Sonata

orch. Ruth Lomon

Dale, B:

Suite for Viola and Piano in D minor, Op. 2: II. Romance

Walthew:

A Mosaic in Ten Pieces

Warner, H W:

Suite in D minor, Op. 58

orch. Tim Seddon


Sarah-Jane Bradley (viola)

The Hallé, Stephen Bell

The Hallé and viola virtuoso Sarah-Jane Bradley present a programme of four tuneful and atmospheric scores by British composers of the early twentieth century. Benjamin Dale’s large-scale Romance for viola and orchestra finds him at his most lyrical, while Canadian-born composer Ruth Lomon’s orchestration of Rebecca Clarke’s Viola Sonata is splendidly authentic, emphasising the romantic sensibility latent in Clarke’s piano score. Richard Walthew orchestrated his delightful Mosaic – a succession of eleven encores originally for clarinet and piano – for the celebrated Lionel Tertis, and here Sarah-Jane Bradley revels in its lyrical charm. The Suite in D minor by composer, violist and founder member of the London String Quartet, Harry Waldo Warner, completes the programme, and Sarah-Jane Bradley and the Hallé project this substantial three-movement work with insight and panache.

All tracks available in stereo and multi-channel,

This Hybrid CD can be played on any standard CD player

“The orchestra gives a gentle push and Sarah-Jane Bradley’s viola begins its waltz: graceful, natural, a playful little slide here, a brief flush of vibrato there – just enough to make the phrase smile. And while Stephen Bell and the Hallé certainly never get in the way, the quizzical woodwind comments and that discreet but unmistakeable light-music swing show that they’re enjoying this music every bit as much as she is…it’s hard to imagine more persuasive accounts” Gramophone Magazine, Awards Issue 2016

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Sir John Barbirolli conducts Nielsen & Mahler

Sir John Barbirolli conducts Nielsen & Mahler


Mahler:

Symphony No. 7

Nielsen:

Symphony No. 5, Op. 50 (FS97)


BBC Northern Symphony Orchestra & Hallé Orchestra, Sir John Barbirolli

The Barbirolli Society’s latest release isa 2-CD set of the complete concert given in the Free TradeHall, Manchester on 20October 1960,with the combined forces of theHallé and BBC Northern SymphonyOrchestras. The concert consisted of Nielsen’s Symphony No.5 and Mahler’s Symphony No.7.

Michael Kennedy, writing in 2000, stated: ‘Performances of the (Mahler) Seventh were much rarer then than they are today, and Mahlerian scholars and enthusiasts flocked to Manchester for the event, among them Deryck Cooke who was profoundly impressed by Sir John’s ability to make the work’s structure cohere. This was an especially significant comment coming from Cooke, who harboured many doubts about the symphony and confessed to finding it most ‘problematical’.’

“Some ‘truly remarkable music-making’, as critic Rob Cowan puts it in Replay.” Gramophone Magazine, July 2016

GGramophone Magazine

Re-issue of the Month - July 2016

Barbirolli Society - SJB108485

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$15.50

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Sibelius: Symphonies Nos. 5 & 7

Sibelius: Symphonies Nos. 5 & 7


Sibelius:

Symphony No. 5 in E flat major, Op. 82

Symphony No. 7 in C major, Op. 105

En Saga, Op. 9


Elder and Halle return to Sibelius with a stunning album of orchestral masterworks in exhilarating live symphonic performances.

Following their recent chart topping release of Vaughan Williams (Sea Symphony CDHLL7542), Elder and his acclaimed forces present a volume featuring major works from one of the great symphonists and orchestrators.

Latest release in warmly received Sibelius series: “Sir Mark Elder is an inspirational conductor and there aren’t too many of those around today. Playing with dramatic bite the Hallé is certainly on its finest form with this all-Sibelius disc. Excellent sound quality adds to the desirability of this release.” Music Web review of previous Sibelius release (Pohjola’s Daughter, Oceanides, Symphony No.2) CDHLL7516 which was Sunday Times Album of the Week, BBC Music Magazine Orchestral Choice, Classic FM Album of the Week and was included in the Sunday Times 100 Best Records of the Year (2013).

Sibelius’ 5th Symphony is one of the orchestral masterpieces, fully displaying the composer’s skill, with evocative and dramatic writing which fully utilizes the orchestral palette.

The 7th Symphony was radical in its seamless one movement structure. Written in the early 1920’s, when Sibelius was tormented with uncertainty and depression, the work was his last in the form and is considered by many as being his finest symphonic achievement.

Inspired by Finnish folk legends, against a history of Russian dominance, En Saga is Sibelius’s first important score to reveal a distinctively Finnish character and was the work with which the national music of Finland became an artistic entity.

“there is something rather cool, not to say downright chilly, about Elder’s approach to [No. 5], as though the atmosphere of the genuinely austere and implacable Seventh had permeated this work, too...Elder’s careful performance [of En Saga], the hushed final pages perfectly realised, is quite special in its own right.” The Guardian

“The Hallé's new recordings reaffirm its thriving Sibelian tradition, matching Sir Mark Elder's measured, often massive readings with playing excellent even in these predominantly live performances…their scale, detail and atmosphere, with the immediacy they draw from the well recorded Bridgewater Hall ambiance…are well worth hearing.” BBC Music Magazine, May 2016 ****

“Mark Elder presides over a strikingly lissom and cogent account of the mighty Fifth. Not only do the Hallé respond with commendable poise, commitment and personality, Elder paces proceedings judiciously, his comparatively fleet-of-foot conception evincing a keen thrust and sparky intellect…[as for the Seventh], I appreciate its thoughtful sensitivity, seamlessly judged transitions and abundance of scrupulously observant detail.” Gramophone Magazine, May 2016

“The conductor brings a bracing ear to the sounds of nature that famously inspired the composer...The Hallé’s playing is now superior technically for its long-standing music director than it was for his great predecessor, John Barbirolli, and Elder is no less impressive a Sibelian.” Sunday Times, 1st May 2016

Hallé Elder Sibelius Series - CDHLL7543

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Elgar: Sea Pictures & Pomp and Circumstance Marches

Elgar: Sea Pictures & Pomp and Circumstance Marches


Elgar:

Sea Pictures, Op. 37

Alice Coote (mezzo soprano)

Polonia

Pomp and Circumstance Marches Nos. 1-5, Op. 39


The latest release in Hallé’s award winning Elgar Edition features the much anticipated studio recording of Sea Pictures, coupled with the lesser known tone-poem Polonia and the five original Pomp and Circumstance Marches.

Following their recent chart topping release of Vaughan Williams (Sea Symphony CDHLL7842) Elder and his acclaimed forces present a volume of Elgar with revelatory performances of both much loved and lesser well known works. Previous Elgar releases of The Dream of Gerontius (CDHLL7520) and The Kingdom (CDHLD7526) were universally acclaimed, each winning a Gramophone Award.

Premiered in 1899, shortly after the triumph of the Enigma Variations in London the previous month, Sea Pictures became an immediate hit (with two of the songs being performed with piano accompaniment for Queen Victoria at Balmoral two weeks after the premiere). The cycle of five songs for which Elgar selected a variety of poems from his wide knowledge of literature, features a range of masterly orchestral textures and stunning vocal settings.

The featured soloist is world renowned mezzo soprano Alice Coote, regarded as one of the leading artists of our day, equally famed on the great operatic stages as in concert and recital she has been named the 'superlative British Mezzo' (San Francisco Chronicle). Her performances have been described as 'breathtaking in [its] sheer conviction and subtlety of perception' (The Times) and her voice as 'beautiful, to be sure, but, more importantly, it thrills you to the marrow.' (The Daily Telegraph).

Polonia has long been overlooked but this recording will re-establish this highly engaging tone-poem which quotes Polish tunes and Chopin, written as a tribute to Poland’s contribution to the Allied cause in the First World War, in a brilliantly orchestrated score.

Not all of the five original Pomp and Circumstance Marches are as universally well known as No.1 and No.4 and, although constructed on the same structural pattern, they display an extraordinary variety of character. These orchestral showcases are a perfect vehicle with which to display the technical and artistic skill of the Hallé under Elder.

“Alice Coote, partnered with exquisite grace and scrupulous care by Mark Elder and the Hallé, gives us a Sea Pictures of arresting character and flawless technical control…an altogether most invigorating release, this, and not to be missed.” Gramophone Magazine, November 2015

“The way [Coote] peels away the varnish of received interpretation can be thrilling, even in Elgar's Sea Pictures...Elder's handling of the orchestra...is wonderful, and where necessary discreet: to bring out colours and textures while making sure the voice remains centre-stage is no mean feat. He then takes the reins splendidly in Polonia and the five Pomp and Circumstance Marches.” BBC Music Magazine, January 2016 ***/*****

Hallé - CDHLL7536

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Schumann: Kinderszenen & Piano Concerto

Schumann: Kinderszenen & Piano Concerto


Schumann:

Kinderszenen, Op. 15

Piano Concerto in A minor, Op. 54

Hallé Orchestra, Sir Mark Elder


Martin Stadtfeld (piano)

Sony - 88875057912

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Mahler: Symphony No. 9

Mahler: Symphony No. 9


Sir Mark Elder and Hallé’s latest release is a live recording of the acclaimed concert performance of Mahler’s landmark symphonic work, which closed the 2014 season.

Begun in 1909 in the composer’s idyllic Austrian mountain retreat, at a time when Mahler was preoccupied by thoughts of his own mortality, his last completed symphony has been described as his most death-haunted work.

Scored for forces which are modest, by Mahlerian standards, this extended work is characterized by its unusual construction, with often soloistic orchestral writing, evocative use of keys and haunting use of motives and references to traditional Austrian folk dance.

This release is a valuable addition to the Hallé canon of great symphonies, including recent releases devoted to Vaughan Williams: Nos 5&8 CD HLL 7533 - Sunday Times Album of the Week and Music Web Recording of the Month; and No 3 CD HLL 7540 – Gramophone Editor’s Choice Feb 2015

Hallé will perform Mahler Symphony No 5 under Elder at the Bridgewater Hall on 19th March and Mahler Symphony No1 under Markus Stenz, Principal Guest Conductor, in repeated performances in Manchester and Sheffield in April.

Recorded live in concert and in rehearsal at The Bridgewater Hall, Manchester 22nd May 2014. Producer and Editor Steve Portnoi; Assistant engineers Niall Gault and Dermot Gault

“The Hallé perform with uncommon beauty and melancholy, but the music-making increasingly gets under one’s skin.” Financial Times, 21st March 2015

“[The first movement] is very well stage-managed, its three huge, increasingly catastrophic climaxes lucidly navigated; perhaps in the end no single performance can encompass such a searchingly profound and intensely personal work.” The Guardian, 20th March 2015 ****

“Elder eschews folksy sentiment in the Ländler rhythms of the second movement, and his lean string textures favour the woodwinds’ grotesque humour in the Rondo-Burleske. The final Adagio, conceived as if in one long dying breath, is spellbindingly beautiful and moving.” Sunday Times, 12th April 2015

“It’s [the] sense of life ebbing away that Elder’s beautifully alert but emotionally circumspect performance captures so well...The Hallé’s playing is often magnificent. True, the strings don’t have that preening, velvety splendour that the Vienna Philharmonic, say, brings to this repertoire. Yet even this more wiry timbre sounds right in a work where the very sounds themselves seem to be inexorably decaying and melting into oblivion.” The Times, 18th April 2015 ****

“There are long, noble stretches but the conflict zones of the first movement lack that last degree of urgency…the the magic happens: where some interpretations fall at the last hurdle, the great but sometimes hard-to-feel Adagio finale, this one hits peak form.” BBC Music Magazine, June 2015 ***

“Elder has a cool, clear, carefully ordered take on the outer movements - Klimt rather than Schiele…the concluding pages of the finale, patiently unfolded and calm rather than death-haunted, would seem to have been listened to in rapt silence.” Gramophone Magazine, June 2015

Hallé - CDHLD7541

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