Manchester’s Halle choir scoops prestigious classical music gong for third time at Gramophone Awards

By Eve Commander

Manchester’s breath-taking Halle choir have won the prize for best choral recording of the year at the 2013 Gramophone Classical Music Awards in September.

The prestigious prize was given for their performance of Edward Elgar’s The Apostles which was recorded live at The Bridgewater Hall in May 2012.

The third and lesser known work in a series of Edward Elgar’s oratorios, The Apostles, joins the Halle’s recordings of The Kingdom and The Dream of Gerontius, which have won the Gramophone’s prestigious prize. 

Halle’s musical director Sir Mark Elder said: “Conducting The Apostles for the first time after years of living with Elgar’s music came as a revelation for me.

“A work long in the shadow of Elgar’s other great oratorios, The Apostles has convinced me that it is at least their equal in originality and emotional force.”

The Gramophone has lauded the Halle’s musical director, Sir Mark Elder for his ‘scrupulous fidelity’ to the composer’s musical vision.

Gramophone writer Andrew Achenbach commented on the website: “Not only does Elder obtain playing and singing of the utmost accomplishment and sensitivity, his hugely penetrating interpretation evinces an idiomatic pliancy, sure dramatic instinct and iron grip,”

With a cast that includes baritones Jacques Imbrailo and David Kempster, soprano Rebecca Evans, mezzo-soprano Alice Coote, tenor Paul Groves, bass Brindley Sherratt and students from the Royal Northern College of Music and University of Manchester, Elder went to considerable lengths to fulfill the Elgar’s specific request for an ‘Apostolic Choir’, even locating a Shofar player in order to stay faithful to the composer’s score.

Having already won BBC Music Magazine’s best choral recording and best overall recording of the year, the award cements the fantastic critical response which the Halle received at Bridgewater Hall and when they performed the piece at the Proms last August.

The Gramophone award ceremony will take place on Tuesday September 17. With the Halle’s new season opening next week, they will hope to emulate the last one’s success.

Image courtesy of Keri Louise Brown via YouTube, with thanks.

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