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ARTHUR SULLIVAN The Light of the World

[SACD Hybrid Multi-channel]

The Light of the World (1873)

CD 1
The First Part
1. Prologue
2. – 12. Bethlehem
13. – 16. Nazareth – In the Synagogue
17. – 22. Lazarus

CD 2
1. – 6. The Way to Jerusalem
The Second Part
7. – 13. Jerusalem
14. – 20. At the Sepulchre – Morning

NATALYA ROMANIW soprano - Mary, the Mother of Jesus
ELEANOR DENNIS soprano - Mary Magdalene/Martha
KITTY WHATELY contralto - An Angel
ROBERT MURRAY tenor - A Disciple/Nicodemus
BEN McATEER baritone - Jesus
NEAL DAVIES bass - A Ruler/A Pharisee/A Shepherd


Multi-ch Stereo
All tracks available in stereo and multi-channel

This hybrid 2CD-SET can be played on any standard CD players

Commissioned for and first produced at the Birmingham Musical Festival of 1873, The Light of the World is Arthur Sullivan’s great oratorio on the life of Christ. Although regularly performed during the composer’s lifetime, changing fashions gradually condemned the work to obscurity. Occasional revivals have failed to make the case for it, primarily because it was not understood that The Light of the World is essentially a dramatic work, rather than a purely religious one. When Dutton Epoch and the Sir Arthur Sullivan Society came to record the work, this new understanding enabled a completely different approach to be taken – the result is a vibrant performance by the BBC Symphony Chorus and the BBC Concert Orchestra conducted by John Andrews. They are supported by the Kinder Children’s Choir and a fine team of soloists: Natalya Romaniw and Eleanor Dennis (sopranos), Kitty Whately (contralto), Robert Murray (tenor), Ben McAteer (baritone) and Neal Davies (bass).

“We know so little of Sullivan’s serious music that this world-premiere recording of a 1873 oratorio ... is welcome.” “... the music recalls Mendelssohn in its tunefulness and dramatic gestures. Andrews leads his excellent soloists ... with infectious verve.” Hugh Canning, The Sunday Times' Culture supplement, 23 December 2018

"much of the solo writing is beautifully shaped and, as in all Sullivan, an easy lyricism pervades throughout." Stephen Pritchard, The Observer, 19 January 2019

“Now here’s a genuine find. Premiered to enormous acclaim.” Gramophone, February 2019

“No praise can be too high for the present big-hearted revival. John Andrews directs proceedings with the utmost care and infectious conviction, and elicits ideally fervent and polished results from his assembled choral and orchestral forces.” “The SACD sound is superb, possessing a most beguiling warmth and amplitude, while the balance throughout has been most judiciously struck. Dutton’s copious presentation is a model of its kind” “Plaudits to everyone involved with this enterprising release.” Andrew Achenbach, Gramophone, February 2019

“Almighty rendering of a little-heard Biblical epic” Choral & Song Choice, BBC Music Magazine “... overall ... tastefully – and indeed often beautifully – done it is. This performance ... is close to ideal. All the soloists make their mark.” "Ben McAteer's emphatic Jesus ... impresses most. Conductor John Andrew does an excellent job, bringing constant motion to the score and drawing refined playing from the BBC CO and articulate singing from the BBC SC and the Kinder Children's Choir." George Hall, BBC Music Magazine "The solo singers are a fine grouping. Natalya Romaniw, with her burnished tonal quality, is the most operatic-sounding of the ladies, singing with great intensity whilst Kitty Whately makes the announcements of the Angel empathetic and vivid. Ben McAteer’s smoothly lyrical baritone sounds well, and, critically, he manages to evince obvious humanity. Robert Murray’s mellifluous tones are heard to advantage, especially at the striking and beautiful opening of the ‘Lazarus’ episode. Eleanor Dennis sings an affecting Martha and certainly makes “Lord, why hidest thou thy face?” a dramatic climax. Neal Davies offers grittily authoritative cameos as A Pharisee and A Ruler." "An important recording, then, and a must for enthusiasts wishing to explore lesser-known reaches of Sullivan’s output." Alexander Campbell,

Product ID 2CDLX7356
Price: £19.99
USD: $24.86 approx EUR: €22.15
2,683 JPY
2 Product Reviews - Average rating 5 / 5 (Show All)

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The rehabilitation of 'serious' Sullivan continues

- 02/16/2019

What a stunning achievement! As I have mentioned in an earlier review elsewhere on this site, I have had an interest in all things Sullivan-related for over 40 years. It is wonderful therefore now to be able to add to my CD collection a full-scale profes...

A wonderful realization of a wrongfully underrated and maligned work

- 12/20/2018

This is Sullivan’s second and last oratorio in the strictest sense of the genre in the English-speaking world before WW1. Although he would continue to write large choral works for festivals throughout his career, the later works, though thematically sa...

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