Spreading the net
We'll be hearing a lot of Elijah this year, but Sunday evening's performance from St David's Hall, Cardiff, promises to be a special case on several counts. First of all, it's a celebration of St David's Day; and among the singers is one of the loveliest voices to have come out of Wales recently: Elin Manahan Thomas, whose pure, light-filled soprano has already proved itself in her baroque solo album and should suit Mendessohn's streamlined and elegant vocal writing to perfection. She joins an exciting line-up that also includes Anna Leese, Wendy Dawn Thompson, Andrew Kennedy and Neal Davies. The BBC National Orchestra and Chorus of Wales and the Cardiff Ardwyn Singers complete the picture, tied neatly together by the BBCNOW's principal conductor Thierry Fischer.
But also it represents a little branching-out from our own dear radio station. The broadcast is live on Radio 3 on Sunday at 6.30pm, but it will also be filmed. From Monday it will be available to view on the Internet. Please watch this space and we'll give you the link as soon as it's up.
A propos de Thierry Fischer: he used to be a truly extraordinary flautist. A former student of the great Aurèle Nicolet, he played in the Zurich Opera under Harnoncourt and was then principal flute of the Chamber Orchestra of Europe. If I ever interview him, my first question might be whether he still plays. The orchestra is perhaps the ultimate instrument, though - not to mention the delectable combination of instruments, chorus, soloists, drama, spirituality, melody and celebration that Elijah encompasses, especially so this year. I look forward very much to hearing and seeing what Thierry will do with Mendelssohn's megascore.