Search - David Wilson-Johnson, Edward Elgar, Richard Hickox :: Elgar: Caractacus

Elgar: Caractacus
David Wilson-Johnson, Edward Elgar, Richard Hickox
Elgar: Caractacus
Genre: Classical
  •  Track Listings (16) - Disc #1
  •  Track Listings (17) - Disc #2


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CD Details

All Artists: David Wilson-Johnson, Edward Elgar, Richard Hickox, London Symphony Chorus, London Symphony Orchestra, Judith Howarth, Arthur Davies
Title: Elgar: Caractacus
Members Wishing: 0
Total Copies: 0
Label: Chandos
Release Date: 7/26/1994
Genre: Classical
Styles: Opera & Classical Vocal, Symphonies
Number of Discs: 2
SwapaCD Credits: 2
UPC: 095115915622

CD Reviews

Elgar's Greatest Oratorio
Scriabinmahler | UK | 03/25/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Elgar wrote many oratorios based on Christian themes, Apostles, Kingdom, Dream of Gerontius, Light of Life etc, but I think his greatest choral work is definitely Caractacus which can match even his great orchestral works in originality, inspiration and other-worldly beauty. Inspired by a moving tale of British king fighting against Romans, and of lovers caught in the middle, there is some influence by Wagner's Tristan und Isolde, although Elgar's musical language is completely his own. The Druid ritual scene and the lovers' duet scene are probably the most magical and original music Elgar ever wrote. It really sounds like music that came from other world.

As for the recording quality and performance, this one surpasses the EMI recording by Groves. Hickox's account is more atmospheric and eloquent. The heart-breakingly poignant love-duet sung by Judith Howarth and Arthur Davis, which I can not listen without tears, alone can make this recording a must."
An endearing work in brilliant performances
G.D. | Norway | 05/30/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)

"While it is (understandably) not very often performed and in the end not in the league of the Dream of Gerontious, Elgar's large-scale cantata Caractacus, concerning the last stand of that legendary, ancient British king against the Roman invaders, is in fact a delightful work. Part of the problem, however, is that the text (by one H.A. Acworth) isn't exactly great - rather embarrassing at times, in fact - but the music Elgar provided is inventive and quite powerful (some weak passages notwithstanding); highlights including several of the wistful, atmospheric pastoral interludes, which benefit strongly from Elgar's skills as an orchestrator.

And this magnificent performance almost manages to convince us that we are dealing with a masterpiece. Hickox's secure grasp of the architectonics is augmented by brilliant orchestral playing producing a rich, warm sound full of feeling, color and tragic splendour. And the London Symphonic Chorus is no less impressive with their full-blooded, almost fervent contributions. With a strong cast of soloists, the case made for this flawed but impressive work is as strong as one could possibly imagine or wish for; Howarth is touchingly beautiful as the eponymous king's daughter and Wilson-Johnson nobly impressive as the king himself, and the other parts are no less fine. Add to that a beautiful, spacious sound (and a fine performance of the wistful Severn Suite), and you have a really recommendable set. Arch-English, late-Victorian and a little sturdy and worthy music, yes, but thoroughly endearing nonetheless."
a reader | 09/02/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)

"My vinyl of the Groves/Liverpool version was wearing out and my CD of it had developed an irritating skip right in the famous Triumphal March, so I was keen to hear this version. Excellent overall but singing and chorus not as sharp as Groves. Still Chandos CDs have very rich sound and well worth it. Fill up good too. (orchestral version of Severn Suite, usually for brass band only)"