Sarah Connolly, mezzo-soprano
Greg Beardsell, choirmaster
Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra
Bournemouth Symphony Chorus
Simon Wright, conductor
Written for the striking contralto Clara Butt, who gave the work’s première in a dress said to resemble a mermaid, Sea Pictures is Elgar’s only song cycle with orchestra. These exquisite miniatures depict the sea in all its guises, peaceful and storm-tossed by turns.
The heartfelt Where Corals Lie is perhaps the most remarkable three minutes in all of Elgar. Inspired by the notion that artists are the real creators and the true makers of history and society (‘We are the music makers, And we are the dreamers of dreams’), The Music Makers is a largely intimate and nostalgic work, which quotes several times from Elgar’s other compositions.
"A powerful Elgar pairing with Sarah Connolly in shining form throughout . . . Sea Pictures demands to be heard."
Gramophone, December 2006
"It's easy to understand why Naxos wanted a chance to record the velvet-voiced Sarah Connolly in Sea Pictures. For while she's best known in Baroque and classical repertoire (especially Handel), this rising star turns out to be a persuasive Elgarian too, shaping the phrases with a supple rythmic ebb and flow, with finely shaded dynamics, and with a seductive range of color"
Fanfare, May/June 2007