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Time was when Elijah was a warhorse of every choral society up and down the land. Times change and fashions wane: a performance of Men- delssohn’s 1846 oratorio is today a rare occurrence, owing to the prevailing view that the work is somehow second-rate. But when one comes across a performance as unashamedly committed and thoroughly dramatic as this one by McCreesh and his immense forces, one realises how false that view is. Recorded soon after the same performers’ memorable performance at the 2011 BBC Proms, this is a reading to make one hear Mendelssohn’s masterpiece anew: the vast orchestral and choral forces employed are surprisingly subtle and flexible, while the quartet of British soloists, led by Keenlyside’s towering impersonation of the title role, could not be bettered. The recording is beautifully presented in an exquisitely designed ‘book format’. Not to be missed.

PHILIP REED Read the full review on Agora Classica


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