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CHAN 241-48M
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CHAN 241-48
(multiple CD Set)

Mendelssohn: Elijah

The Classical Shop
release date: August 2014

Originally recorded in 1989


London Symphony Orchestra

Richard Hickox

Willard White

bass - Elijah

Linda Finnie

contralto - Angel, The Queen, Contralto Solos

Roderick Elms


Rosalind Plowright

soprano - The Widow, Angel, Soprano Solos

Arthur Davies

tenor - Obadiah, Ahab, Tenor Solos

Jeremy Budd

treble - The Youth

London Symphony Chorus


Church of St Jude-on-the Hill, Central Square, London NW11


Brian Couzens


Ralph Couzens

Ben Connellan

Record Label


Orchestral & Concertos


Total Time - 130:54
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Elijah, Op. 70

  First Part  
1 Introduction. Recitative. Elijah: 'As God the Lord of Israel liveth' - 1:08
2 Overture - 3:25
3 1 Chorus. The People: 'Help, Lord! wilt Thou quite 4:35
  destroy us?' -  
  Recitative. Chorus: 'The deep afford no water' -  
4 2 Duet with Chorus. The People: 'Lord! bow Thine ear to our prayer!' - 1:55
  Duet (soprano and contralto); 'Zion spreadeth her hands for aid' -  
5 3 Recitative. Obadiah: 'Ye people, rend your hearts, and not 0:45
  your garments' -  
6 4 Air. Obadiah: 'If with all your hearts ye truly seek Me' - 2:13
7 5 Chorus. The People: 'Yet doth the Lord see it not' - 4:04
8 6 Recitative. An Angel (contralto): 'Elijah! get thee 0:59
  hence, Elijah!' -  
9 7 Semi-chorus. Angels: 'For He shall give His angels 3:39
  charger over thee' -  
  Recitative. An Angel (contralto): 'Now Cherith's brook is dried up' -  
10 8 Recitative, Air, and Duet. The Widow (soprano): 'What have 5:38
  I to do with thee, O man of God?' -  
11 9 Chorus: 'Blessed are the men who fear Him' - 3:41
12 10 Recitative. Elijah, Ahab, and Chorus: 'As God the 3:55
  Lord of Sabaoth liveth; -  
13 11 Chorus: Priests of Baal: 'Baal, we cry to thee; 3:24
  hear and answer us!' -  
14 12 Recitative. Elijah: 'Call him louder, for he is a god!' - 1:09
  Chorus. Priests of Baal: 'Hear our cry, O Baal!' -  
15 13 Recitative. Elijah: 'Call him louder! he heareth not' - 1:59
  Chorus. Priests of Baal: 'Hear and answer Baal!' -  
16 14 Recitative and Air. Elijah: 'Draw near, all ye people: 3:33
  come to me!' -  
17 15 Chorale: Angels: 'Cast they burden upon the Lord' - 2:12
18 16 Recitative. Elijah: 'O Thou, who makest Thine angels spirits' - 2:46
  Chorus. The People; 'The fire descends from heaven' -  
  Recitative. Elijah: 'Take all the prophets of Baal' -  
  Chorus. The People: 'Take all the prophets of Baal' -  
19 17 Air. Elijah: 'Is not His word like a fire' - 1:53
20 18 Arioso (contralto): 'Woe unto them who forsake Him!' - 3:15
21 19 Recitative with Chorus. Obadiah: 'O man of god, 5:44
  help they people!' -  
  Elijah: 'O Lord, Thou hast overthrown Thine enemies and destroyed them' -  
22 20 Chorus. The People: 'Thanks be to God! He laveth 3:58
  the thirsty land!  
  Second Part  
23 21 Air (soprano): 'Hear ye, Israel; hear what the Lord speaketh' - 5:20
24 22 Chorus: 'Be not afraid, saith God the Lord' - 4:23
25 23 Recitative. Elijah: 'The Lord hath exalted thee from among 3:26
  the people' -  
  Recitative with Chorus. The Queen: 'Have ye not heard he hath prophesied against all Israel? ' -  
26 24 Chorus: 'Woe to him, he sall perish; for he closed 1:35
  the heavens!' -  
27 25 Recitative. Obadiah: 'Man of god, now let my words 2:08
  be precious in thy sight' -  
28 26 Air. Elijah: 'It is enough; O Lord, now take away my life' - 5:15
29 27 Recitative (tenor): 'See, now he sleepeth beneath a juniper 0:40
  tree in the wilderness' -  
30 28 Soprano and Alto Trio. The Angels: 'Lift thine eyes to the 2:09
  mountains, whence cometh help' -  
31 29 Chorus. Angels: 'He, watching over Israel, slumbers 3:58
  not, nor sleeps' -  
32 30 Recitative. The Angel (contralto): 'Aris, Elijah, for thou hast a 1:57
  long journey before thee' -  
33 31 Air. The Angel (contralto): 'O rest in the Lord' - 3:28
34 32 Chorus: 'He that shall endure to the end, shall be saved' - 2:44
35 33 Recitative. Elijah: 'Night falleth round me, O Lord!' - 1:42
36 34 Chorus: 'Behold! God the Lord passed by!' - 3:43
37 35 Recitative (contralto): 'Above Him stood the Seraphim' - 3:41
38 36 Chorus: 'Go, return upon they way!' - 1:22
  Recitative. Elijah: 'I go on my way in the strength of the Lord' -  
39 37 Arioso. Elijah: 'For the mountains shall depart, and the 2:20
  hills be removed' -  
40 38 Chorus: 'Then did Elijah the prophet break forth like a fire' - 2:13
41 39 Air (tenor): 'Then shall the righteous shine forth as 2:07
  the sun in their heavenly Father's realm' -  
42 40 Recitative (soprano): 'Behold, God hath sent Elijah the prophet' - 1:05
43 41 Chorus: 'But the Lord from the north hath raised one' - 3:22
44 41A Quartet: 'O come everyone that thirsteth, O come to 2:43
  the waters' -  
45 42 Chorus: 'And then shall your light break forth as the 3:43
  light of the morning breaketh'  
 Willard White bass - Elijah
 Rosalind Plowright soprano - The Widow, Angel, Soprano Solos
 Linda Finnie contralto - Angel, The Queen, Contralto Solos
 Arthur Davies tenor - Obadiah, Ahab, Tenor Solos
 Jeremy Budd treble - The Youth
 Roderick Elms organ
 Richard Hickox
  21-25 April 1989  

‘Never was there a more complete triumph’, wrote The Times after the premiere of Elijah by Mendelssohn. The performance, conducted by the composer at the 1846 Birmingham Music Festival, marked the beginning of the life of Elijah as one of the best-loved choral works in the repertoire, a status it still holds.

A grand oratorio in two parts, Elijah is very much composed in the spirit of Mendelssohn’s baroque predecessors, combining the dramatic sweep of Handel with episodes of sublime meditation such as are found in Bach. It tells the story of the stern Old Testament prophet Elijah who preached against the idol worship of the Israelite people. Mendelssohn adapted the Biblical texts to produce intensely dramatic scenes depicting, for example, the resurrection of a dead youth, a contest of the gods, and Elijah’s ascension into heaven on a fiery chariot.

This recording, made in April 1989, presents an all-star cast with Willard White in the title role and Rosalind Plowright, Linda Finnie, Arthur Davies, and Jeremy Budd singing the various supporting parts. Conducting the London Symphony Orchestra and Chorus is the late Richard Hickox, a musician who built an immense reputation for his masterful performances of choral music during his career. This release is a part of the ongoing Richard Hickox Legacy series.

“… The choir is excellent, as is the orchestra… My favourite Elijah sounds better than ever…”

Donald R Vroon – American Record Guide – November/December 2014

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