Hallé HL 7535
Holst: The Hymn of Jesus; Delius: Sea Drift; Cynara – Roderick Williams, Hallé Choir, Hallé Youth Choir, Hallé Orchestra, Sir Mark Elder
Following unparalleled success with recordings of works for orchestra and choir – witness awards in recent years from both Gramophone and BBC Music – the Hallé and Sir Mark Elder present a compelling programme of evocative and rarely performed works which will be a valuable addition to the catalogue.
In The Hymn of Jesus Holst explores the connection between dancing and religious ritual in a highly concentrated and intense work. It combines musical techniques and thematic material to produce a large-scale work which is a highly evocative representation of the serenity and exaltation of mysticism.
Elder describes Delius’s enigmatic choral poem Sea Drift as a ‘masterpiece’, one he has long wanted to perform and record. Composed in 1903 to verses by Walt Whitman, it depicts, in wonderful music of great emotional intensity, an expression of grief and bereavement. Including some of the most ravishing music that Delius ever penned, Sea Drift stands as one of the most profound evocations of loss in British music.
Cynara also follows the theme of loss in a setting of texts by the poet Ernest Dowson, lamenting the loss of the mistress of the poet Horace in classical literature. With its yearning violin solo, overpowering sense of hedonistic melancholy, brief dance episode, and highly effective ending, it is a reminder of Delius at the height of his expressive powers, fortunately preserved.
The disc features the acclaimed British baritone Roderick Williams, a soloist at the height of his powers, in repertoire which is perfectly suited to his lyrical, dramatic, and musical expertise.