As ever I was interested to read Ian Lace's review about Elgar's Wartime compositions. I have to admit that I have not heard this disc but I think a couple of observations are valid. It strikes me as odd to assume that actor Simon Callow "... is clearly moved by his material and you can sense that he is on the verge of tears". He is an exceptionally fine actor - making us believe he is so moved is his job. Given these performances would have been recorded in multiple takes the only logical explanation is acting technique not emotional excess.
The remark about the style of the narration is clearly valid particularly if one is to revisit the performance often. But again, I would suggest that this will be a carefully made performance choice. My guess is that Callow is adopting a style more in tune with the performance/acting practices of the time (remember he is well known for his recreation of Charles Dickens' famed readings). It has often been said that the grand-gestured rhetorical acting style of yesteryear would grate on modern audiences grown used to a more naturalistic approach. I know the version which features Richard Pasco and it should be pointed out that the orchestra there is the semi-professional Rutland Sinfonia who cannot hold a candle to the BBC CO.
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