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CD Review

Arthur Sullivan

The Prodigal Son

  • The Prodigal Son (1869)
  • Boer War Te Deum (1900)
Claire Rutter, Catherine Denley,
Mark Wilde, Gary Magee
The London Chorus
The New London Orchestra/Ronald Corp
Hyperion CDA67423 75m DDD
Find it at AmazonFind it at Amazon UKFind it at Amazon GermanyFind it at Amazon CanadaFind it at Amazon FranceFind it at Amazon Japan

This has definitely got to be my record of the year! Although a self-confessed Anglophile Imperialist, I must say that I had substantially cooled off over the past years in this traditionalist vein! However a timely hearing of this wonderful music from the turn of the other century fired up those patriotic overtones that also snugly combined with England's recent victory in the Rugby World Cup!

Seriously, this is music that deserves more than the occasional airing. 'The Prodigal Son' is a beautiful oratorio that is succinctly reminiscent of Parry's similarly glorious 'Job' and we really must be having more works from this period to confirm the high standards of British music at that time. The work is replete with some memorable choruses and arias and is lovingly interpreted by the indefatigable Ronald Corp. Corp is continuously resurrecting such gems as Fraser Simson's 'Maid of the Mountains' and Jones' 'Geisha', also available on Hyperion.

However I went almost overboard after listening to the 'Boer War Te Deum' that was revisited at least five times in the next two hours! This is an unashamedly bombastic work but one cannot help being moved by the grandeur and sublime beauty of the piece. It is a no-holds barred paean of Imperialistic majesty at its very best and the wondrous theme that concludes the work is truly emotional. Words really cannot describe the surge that one feels at the end of this work which is surely one of Sullivan's finest.

So that must have set you off to your music retailer to purchase a copy by now! This disc continues to confirm the great stature of such rarities that lie undiscovered from the archives of the great British tradition. We are indebted to Corp and Hyperion for providing such a gem to enjoy and treasure for years to come.

Copyright © 2003, Gerald Fenech