EDWARD ELGAR (1857-1934): Scenes from the Saga of King Olaf for Soprano, Tenor, Bass, Chorus and Orchestra, Op. 30, The Banner of St. George for Chorus and Orchestra, Op. 33.
Catalogue Number: 03Q046
Reference: CHSA 5149(2)
Format: SACD hybrid
Description: Coming from 1896, three years before the Enigma Variations, King Olaf was the work which announced widely Elgar's arrival as a composer. Its 85-minute length is made from adaptations by H.A. Acworth of one of three tales from Longfellow's "Tales of a Wayside Inn" which tell of deeds and exploits of the first Christian king of Norway. No other recording currently exists outside of a 30-disc boxed set. The much shorter (27 minutes) Banner was commissioned, along with the Imperial March, for Queen Victoria's diamond jubilee in 1897 and supports very old-fashioned Victorian verses with striking orchestration whose wind writing looks forward both to Enigma and Gerontius. 2 CDs. Texts included. Emily Birsan (soprano), Barry Banks (tenor), Alan Opie (baritone), Bergen Philharmonic Choir, Choir of Collegiûm Musicum, Edvard Grieg Kor, Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra; Andrew Davis.