Wonderfully imaginative & inspired performance!
Scriabinmahler | UK | 12/26/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Elgar's 'Starlight Express' is filled with amazingly inspired melodies and imbued with the magical, other-worldly beauty of childhood innocence. I listen to this music on every Christmas day alongside Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker - just a right kind of music to let you forget all the meaningless stress associated with the whole business of being merry (often forcefully!) this time of year.
All these memorable songs and masterly orchestration suggest what might have happened to British classical music history, if Elgar had become a great opera composer. As in his great oratorios, it seems, the spirit of creative inspiration visited the composer most naturally, when his thoughts and imaginations were guided by literatures. Elgar had a rare gift of uniting the literary narratives with the musical ideas in such an intimate and inseparable way, that the essence of the story is communicated to listeners even without knowing the whole story! That is the case with the works like 'Light of Life', 'Caractacus', and 'Starlight Express.'
In this vivid Chandos stereo recording, Cynthia Glover has just a right kind of vibrant soprano voice with youthful quality for her role as a fairy, and John Lawrenson (baritone) gives warm and wonderfully imaginative performance of the songs of Organ-grinder. Bournemouth SO / George Hurt provides deeply sympathetic and expressive background.
Coupled with equally eloquent account of King Arthur Suite, this is a highly recommendable CD for anyone who loves Elgar's music.