Mark Elder

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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.

“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 *****

“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

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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

GGramophone Awards 2017

Shortlisted - Choral

Hallé - CDHLL7544

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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.

“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 ***/*****

“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

Hallé - CDHLL7536

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Vaughan Williams: Symphony No. 1 'A Sea Symphony'

Vaughan Williams: Symphony No. 1 'A Sea Symphony'


Read Presto's complete review of this disc here.

Hallé announces their latest release, of Vaughan Williams’ masterpiece in a live recording from the stunning 2014 Bridgewater Hall performance.

“This matchless concert of British music closed with an outstanding performance, among the finest ever, of A Sea Symphony .... This was the first time Sir Mark Elder had conducted the work, which made the completeness of his interpretation, at once controlled and ecstatic, all the more startling. I can't imagine the work being better played..”

“Elder paces the symphony grandly and is rewarded with patrician playing from The Hallé and well-blended singing from his four massed choirs. The two soloists, a strong Katherine Broderick and an articulate Roderick Williams, hold their own. Bathed in the warm acoustic of Bridgewater Hall, a nobility of utterance suffuses the whole performance.” Financial Times, 4th September 2015 ****

“Judging the tempi on such a lengthy musical journey is no small task, and Elder’s account is to be praised for the way he avoids either flagging or rushing. A masterclass in choral symphonic music-making and conducting, and almost certainly one of my favourite discs of the year!” Presto Classical, 4th September 2015

“The long finale – a full half-hour – is exceptionally well modulated and shrewdly paced, achieving a fusion of flow and moving intensity in which orchestral and choral colour, together with the deep expressivity and dynamism of both the baritone and the soprano Katherine Broderick, combine to attain inspiring heights.” The Telegraph, 30th August 2015 *****

“Elder presides over a majestic performance, brimful of lofty spectacle, abundant temperament and stunning accomplishment...Roderick Williams is on customarily refulgent and intelligent form; soprano Katherine Broderick, too, sings with heaps of passion and drama...The superbly honed choral and orchestral contribution surely testifies to many hours of painstaking preparation.” Gramophone Magazine, Awards Issue 2015

“Mark Elder's Vaughan Williams cycle with The Halle is turning out to be the finest since the two by Adrian Boult - and the opening bars of this live recording of A Sea Symphony show why. The sweeping grandeur of the moment is wonderfully caught, yet there's no trace of bombast, so that even with the massed choral and orchestral forces, the big paragraphs are shaped with a sense of their lyricism that neither drags nor glibly undercuts the music's epic scale.” BBC Music Magazine, November 2015

“Mark Elder makes clear Vaughan Williams’s debts to Charles Stanford and Elgar, Wagner and Ravel, carrying them along in a reading of tidal power, patient yet inexorable.” New York Times, 25th November 2015

Presto Disc of the Week

4th September 2015

Presto Discs of 2015

Finalist

GGramophone Awards 2016

Shortlisted - Orchestral

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - Awards Issue 2015

Hallé Elder Vaughan Williams Series - CDHLL7542

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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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Vaughan Williams: Orchestral Works

Vaughan Williams: Orchestral Works


Vaughan Williams:

Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis

Symphony No. 3 'A Pastoral Symphony'

Sarah Fox (soprano)

Five Variants of ‘Dives and Lazarus'

The Wasps Overture


Following highly acclaimed previous Vaughan Williams releases, Hallé announces a new volume of British orchestral jewels including his Pastoral Symphony which movingly depicts the horrors of the First World War.

Two of Vaughan Williams’ most popular works, Wasps Overture and Tallis Fantasia, are coupled with arguably his greatest and most original Symphony and a delightful multiple setting of a folk-song which enchanted the composer throughout his life.

Hallé’s recording of Symphonies No 5 & 8 (CDHLL7533) was awarded Sunday Times Album of the Week and Music Web Recording of the Month (April 2013)

The Wasps Overture has become one of the composer’s most popular works. From the opening orchestral buzzing of a swarm of wasps, it emerges as one of English music’s great tunes, this work is a showcase for the vivid orchestral colours of Vaughan Williams’ writing, presented here to the height of effect by the acclaimed musicians of the Hallé.

Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis is one of Vaughan Williams’s most frequently played works and is acknowledged as one of the greatest examples of writing for strings. Although the treatment of Tallis’s theme is mainly contemplative, there are dramatic and passionate moments in the Fantasia, which is scored for two string orchestras (the second orchestra comprising only nine players) with solo quartet.

The ‘Pastoral’ Symphony is characterized with a mood which is gently elegiac and dark, and which reflects the work’s true genesis. Although the title mistakenly led audiences and critics to associate the work entirely with rural landscapes and English folksong, it is in fact directly related to the First World War of 1914‑18. Vaughan Williams, although forty‑one when war was declared, enlisted as a private in the Royal Army Medical Corps and served as a wagon orderly in France.

Five Variants of ‘Dives and Lazarus’, for strings and harps was written for the New York World Fair in 1939, when Sir Adrian Boult conducted the first performance in Carnegie Hall. Vaughan Williams first encountered the folksong Dives and Lazarus in 1893, when he was 21, later collecting several versions, and in this mature work he displays his affection for the melody in variants which are not exact replicas but reminiscences of various versions in several folksong collections, including his own.

“The troubled, sullied world that the music explores is recreated by Elder and the Hallé without ever becoming overwrought or maudlin, and bringing out unexpected resonances along the way.” The Guardian, 5th November 2014 ****

“Elder and the Hallé Orchestra play the symphony from the heart and the music soars...A glowing performance of the much-loved “Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis” also raises the spirits.” Financial Times, 29th November 2014 ****

“Performances that rival even the classic Boult recordings...Elder’s interpretation vividly highlights the troubled undercurrents of the Pastoral Symphony.” MusicWeb International, January 2015

“Elder and his inspirational Mancunians continue their own-label RVW cycle with a rapt account of the third symphony, its sombre reflection of a world torn apart by war here winning in its eloquent simplicity.” Classical Music ****

“[the Tallis Fantasia] is tight-reined, yet also singing and surging with no trace of anti-Romantic tendentiousness...But what makes this release so special is Elder and the Hallé's interpretation of the Pastoral Symphony...Elder's telling way with the music's pacing...articulates the whole design with a vividness that allows an element of genuine dramatic sweep to come through.” BBC Music Magazine, January 2015 *****

“the finest volume yet in Sir Mark Elder's unfolding Vaughan Williams cycle...Abetted by uncommonly articulate orchestral playing, the performance of the Pastoral Symphony evinces a glowing dedication, remarkable luminosity of texture, songful rapture and emotional clout that mark it out as a front-runner...A marvellous disc.” Gramophone Magazine, February 2015

“It is still a revelation to find how much Sir Mark Elder draws from well-loved and oft-performed scores…[the Pastoral Symphony is a] wonderfully perceptive performance.” International Record Review, March 2015

GGramophone Awards 2015

Finalist - Orchestral

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - February 2015

BBC Music Magazine

Disc of the month - January 2015

Hallé Elder Vaughan Williams Series - CDHLL7540

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$14.75

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Shostakovich: Symphony No. 7 in C major, Op. 60 'Leningrad'

Shostakovich: Symphony No. 7 in C major, Op. 60 'Leningrad'


The timely release of a stunning live recording of one of the most iconic works of the symphonic repertoire from Hallé on top form under their Music Director Sir Mark Elder.

First performed on 1 March 1942, with the world in the grip of an unprecedented conflict, the symphony’s apparent message of resistance and ultimate victory provided audiences with an intoxicating emblem of hope and defiance.

Shortly after the Nazi blockade of Leningrad (now St Petersburg) began in September 1941, Shostakovich and other members of the artistic elite were airlifted out of the city in the interests of their safety. He completed the score of the ‘Leningrad’ Symphony, dedicating it to the besieged people of his home city, hundreds of thousands of whom were to be starved or bombed to death that winter.

As a result of the work’s far-reaching success, Shostakovich became not just a national but an international icon; at home winning the coveted Stalin Prize First Class and abroad gaining huge international attention.

Whilst official political and media channels portrayed the piece as a rallying call in the fight against Nazism, Shostakovich subsequently revealed that much of it was composed in his head before the war, and claimed that it was as much a response to Stalin’s brutality during the notorious purges of the 1930s.

The symphony is scored for vast orchestral forces, including an extensive battery of percussion, a piano, two harps and an array of extra brass instruments that strengthen the climactic moments in the first, third and fourth movements and which are used to great effect in this live recording of the acclaimed opening concert of Hallé’s current season.

Recording taken live from Bridgewater Hall, Manchester under multi-award winning Hallé producer Steve Portnoi with recorded sound fully capturing the drama of the live concert experience.

“Elder and the Hallé uncover the sense of despair and surreal absurdity even in the “triumph” of the finale; and while the march is properly violent, many of the solos are played with touching poignancy.” The Times, 6th June 2014 *****

“essential Shostakovich listening. Elder seems to me to get this symphony right from start to finish.” MusicWeb International, 26th June 2014

“the inner movements, almost wherever you sample them, show Elder with his finger...surely on the pulse and his orchestra...resourceful in its colours and sheer heft.” Gramophone Magazine, August 2014

Hallé - CDHLL7537

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