Elgar, Elder and the Hallé: an ideal combination.. Alice Coote sang Elgar Sea Pictures at BBC Prom 3: the stuff of dreams. Coote's rich mezzo brings out the sensual undercurrents in the songs, suggesting dark mysteries hidden beneath the depths. "Sea-sound, like violins, To slumber woos and wins, I murmur my soft slumber-song, my slumber song Leave woes, and wails, and sins." The texts are uneven, but Coote makes them feel natural and sincere. "Thy lips are like a sunset's glow, Thy smile is like a morning sky, Yet leave me, leave me, let me go And see the land where corals lie." When Coote sings "Thy lips", her lips curve round the words: something personal , almost dangerous here, yet exquisitely beautiful. How sensuously Elgar orchestrates these songs! Soloists dance along the singer's line, reaffirming her words. There have been many great Elgar Sea Pictures in the past, but Coote and Elder are right up in the top of the league. If this enters the discography, it will be a top pick.
Please read Claire Seymour's review of Prom 31 Berlioz, Elgar, Helen Grime and Beethoven Symphony no 3 HERE in Opera Today. I also liked Elder's lucid approach to the Eroica, which flowed with freedom and sparkle.