Elgar: Sea Pictures, Op 37; Polonia, Op 76; Pomp and Circumstance Marches, Op 39

Reviewed on Wed 13 Jan, 2016

Alice Coote gives a refined if occasionally self-consciously weighty account of the marvellous Sea Pictures ... the Hallé under Sir Mark Elder lend her impeccable support.

Here the Halle Orchestra's own label provides a solid mix of the well-known, lesser-known and all-but-unknown Elgar. Alice Coote gives a refined if occasionally self-consciously weighty account of the marvellous Sea Pictures. I suspect there's a simpler reason for the popularity of 'Where Corals Lie' than the late-lamented Michael Kennedy suggests in his notes: it has a great tune that remains central, where that of the last song gets diffused. Suffice to say, the Hallé under Sir Mark Elder lend Coote impeccable support. The orchestra is also on top form in the rarity, Polonia, composed for Elgar's friend, Ignacy Jan Paderewski (1860-1941). A rather splendid tone-poem, this, containing some Polish tunes including their National Anthem, as well as an authentically Elgarian one that anyone can relish. Of course, the Pomp and Circumstance marches have a lot more going for them than merely the famous 'Land of Hope and Glory'; and here Elder and company, not to mention the sound engineers, show their sterling qualities to powerfully convincing effect. A most satisfying release.
–Ivor Solomons