The finest English oratorio
bob turnley | birmingham,al,usa | 07/20/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Except for those who love all things English, most classical fans consider English music to be second rate. Austrian/German composers are grouped to the fore with Russians right behind. The fact is that most of the best music of the 20th century came from England and "The Apostles" is one of those great underrated works. The stately and pastoral themes common to most Brits are in ample evidence here and the well known talents of Sheila Armstrong and Robert Tear are showcased well. The opening sections of 'The Calling...' and 'By the Sea..' are full of peace and calm. But during 'The Betrayal,' Elgar's score erupts as Judas vents his sorrow in music easily comparable to that of Wagner's Wotan. Clifford Grant's performance in this music is one of the most incredible performances by any bass on record.
The six minute Meditation from Elgar's "Light of Life" also comes from the turn of the century. Adrian Boult provides dependably idiomatic leadership and the remastered recording from 1974 sounds excellent. The balance slightly favors the soloists. A great adventure awaits those who explore this joyful and melancholy oratorio."