American Record Guide

Mendelssohn’s Elijah, first performed in London in 1846, became a cornerstone of the choral repertoire in Victorian Britain, even to rivalling the great Handel. So popular was it that a recording as a prime desideratum, and the feat was accomplished in April 1930, when the oratorio was released by Columbia on 15 10-inch sides. While I am no authority in such matters, the BBC performers sound like what I imagine the Victorian tradition must have been, scaled down somewhat for the recording studio and with some minor cuts to accommodate disc spacing. The singers have the English timbre and enunciate in such a way as to be understood verbally as well as musically. While a printed text is included, it is hardly necessary, not least because this discographic rarity has been restored with considerable care. What pleased before will please again in this moving and dramatic performance.