At the time of its first performances in 1846, Elijah was hailed as one of the great oratorios alongside Handel’s 'Messiah'. It tells the story of the prophet with imposing grandeur, inspirational orchestration and beautiful arias, recitatives and choruses. This mighty piece requires even mightier orchestral and choral forces and the Gabrieli singers are reinforced by the talented Gabrieli Young Singers’ Scheme and the Wroclaw Philharmonic Choir. This recording sees over 440 musicians taking part, including 92 string players and over 300 singers.
Introduction: As God The Lord Of Israel Liveth
Chorus: Help, Lord!
Duet With Chorus: Lord, Bow Thine Ear To Our Prayer!
Recitative: Ye People, Rend Your Hearts
Aria: If With All Your Hearts
Chorus: Yet Doth The Lord See It Not
Recitative: Elijah! Get Thee Hence, Elijah
Double Quartet: For He Shall Give His Angels
Recitative: Now Cherith's Brook Is Dried Up
Duet: What Have I To Do With Thee
Chorus: Blessed Are The Men Who Fear Him
Recitative & Chorus: As God The Lord Of Saboath Liveth
Chorus: Baal, We Cry To Thee
Recitative & Chorus: Call Him Louder, For He Is A God!
Recitative & Chorus: Call Him Louder! He Heareth Not
Aria: Lord God Of Abraham
Quartet: Cast Thy Burden Upon The Lord
Recitative & Chorus: O Thou, Who Makest
Aria: Is Not His Word Like A Fire
Aria: Woe Unto Them That Forsake Him!
Recitative & Chorus: O Man Of God, Help Thy People!
Chorus: Thanks Be To God!
Aria: Hear Ye, Israel
Chorus: Be Not Afraid, Saith God The Lord
Recitative & Chorus: The Lord Hath Exalted Thee
Chorus: Woe To Him, He Shall Perish
Recitative: Man Of God
Aria: It Is Enough!
Recitative: See, Now He Sleepeth
Trio: Lift Thine Eyes To Te Mountains
Chorus: He, Watching Over Israel
Recitative: Arise, Elijah
Aria: Oh Rest In The Lord
Chorus: He That Shall Endure To The End
Recitative: Night Falleth Round Me, O Lord!
Chorus: Behold, God The Lord Passed By
Recitative: Above Him Stood The Seraphim
Quartet & Chorus: Holy, Holy, Holy Is God The Lord
Chorus & Recitative: Go, Return Upon Thy Way!
Aria: For The Mountains Shall Depart
Chorus: Then Did Elijah The Prophet Break Forth
Aria: Then Shall The Righteous Shine Forth
Recitative: Behold, God Hath Sent Elijah
Chorus: But The Lord, From The North
Quartet: O Come Everyone That Thirsteth
Chorus: The Shall Your Light Shine Forth
1st September 2012
“Step into Victorian Birmingham with Paul McCreesh’s “authentic” recording of Mendelssohn’s epic Old Testament oratorio...The thumping grandeur of the big choruses is magnificent. But against that must be placed McCreesh’s tendency to insert wallowing rallentandos before every transition, and fuzzy choral diction.”
2nd September 2012
“the choral singing is a marvel.”
15th September 2012
“one of the striking aspects of the performance is the way that Paul McCreesh so naturally places the great set pieces within the context of a multifaceted expressive whole...familiar moments in Elijah sound newly minted here, McCreesh approaching them with polished, fluent phrasing and using the period instruments of his orchestra to underpin emphases and to add vibrant colour.”
23rd September 2012
“McCreesh here totally re-imagines it: the big choruses are transparent as well as massively impressive...and there is no danger of religiosity in the fresh-voiced solos of Rosemary Joshua, Sarah Connolly and Simon Keenlyside...In all, a spectacularly successful reinvention of the British choral tradition.”
“Connolly sings with mellifluous tone and Simon Keenlyside is an Elijah of spirit and intelligence: he may not have the sheer weight of a Bryn Terfel, but he's alive to every shift of meaning and his diction is, as ever, impeccable. The gut strings, unimpeded by vibrato, bring splendid urgency to the texture”
The Arts Desk
6th October 2012
“Miraculously, McCreesh succeeds in relating Elijah’s sound world to Mendelssohn’s more familiar, lighter-sounding works while never underplaying the performance’s staggering heft. The combined choirs produce a sonority which has to be heard to be believed. The doomy, dramatic numbers are simply terrifying...McCreesh’s Berlioz disc was a highlight of 2011; this Elijah is even better. Flawless, in other words.”
“There’s a definite histrionic side to the role and Keenlyside doesn’t short-change us but when listening to him I was reminded again and again what a fine lieder singer he is...[Ward is] clear and accurate and shows excellent breath control. Furthermore, his pitching is spot-on...The orchestral playing is superb...This is a marvellous recording of Elijah...Anyone who cares about this fine work should try to hear it.”
“unashamedly committed and thoroughly dramatic…this a reading to make one hear Mendelssohn’s masterpiece anew…The recording is beautifully presented in an exquisitely designed ‘book format’”
“The sound is massive when required, but the articulation is never unwieldy and there is delicacy too … [the organ is] a splendid beast and, except in one instance, you would never know that it was dubbed on electronically...Sarah Connolly and Rosemary Joshua are both excellent. From the crib of ‘Death and the Maiden’ at the opening to the final ‘Amen’, this is a triumph.”
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