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Erik Levi
BBC Music Magazine, April 2017

It’s a matter of taste whether you prefer to experience Mendelssohn’s masterpiece in the original German or in its English translation, since both versions were deemed authentic by the composer. This recent performance, recorded live in the Berlin Konzerthaus in July 2015, proves to be especially riveting, surpassing highly rated versions sung in German conducted by Frieder Bernius and Thomas Hengelbrock. The 40-strong RIAS Kammerchor is superb throughout, projecting the text not only with phenomenal clarity and sensitivity, but also employing a wide range of dynamics and colouring so as to create the illusion that a far greater body of singers is involved. Equally, the Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin is expert in bringing out the subtleties of Mendelssohn’s orchestration and deliver arguably the finest period instrument playing on disc. Apart from the wonderful Marlis Petersen, the soloists may not be household names, but they all cover themselves in glory with expressive and dramatically focused singing. But the main plaudits must go to conductor Hans-Christoph Rademann who is particularly skilled in maintaining the dramatic momentum though the more static sections of the second part of the oratorio. There’s little doubt too that the sheer adrenaline of a live performance, aided by vivid recording, makes this one of the most satisfying of all Elijahs. © 2017 BBC Music Magazine



James A Altena
Fanfare, September 2016

This live performance, [Hans-Christoph Rademann’s] last one before stepping down as director of the RIAS Chamber Choir, is a very good one, …Rademann himself is exemplary: His brisk but never rushed pacing is well proportioned at all points; he balances sections well, and has a fine ear for dynamics, phrasing, and accenting. It almost goes without saying that the chorus is superb, and the Akademie für alte Musik, long established as one of the world’s premier period instrument ensembles, is not only in stellar form as usual but also has a warmer, less astringent tone here than is sometimes its wont. …[Thomas Oliemans] sings with power and authority but never resorts to any hectoring that detracts from the beauty of his voice. © 2016 Fanfare Read complete review




Fred Cohn
Opera News, September 2016

Thomas Oliemans brings to the title role a baritone so bright that it sounds almost tenorial; …Oliemans handles fast passages with a deftness that a larger-voiced singer might have trouble achieving. Mezzo Lioba Braun’s tone is often worn, but she delivers Jezebel’s imprecations with fire. …Marlis Petersen, in the soprano solos, is in top form, and the pathos she brings to the Widow’s pleas is that of a true operatic actress.

The RIAS Kammerchor, forty-two strong, is large enough to have a big effect in the work’s big moments yet small enough to remain nimble and move with unanimity. The group produces unfailingly full and well-tuned sound, and the small contingents that break out for the angels’ music sing with aching purity. © 2016 Opera News Read complete review



Philip Greenfield
American Record Guide, September 2016

Chorally, everything is extraordinary. The RIAS Chamber Choir, an ensemble of 42, sounds twice that size when kicking the Prophets of Baal to the curb. But when the delicacy of Mendelssohn’s handiwork is on display, the tonal allure of the singing is something to behold. Nothing is routine. Interludes that bespeak Mendelssohn’s love affair with the baroque period actually sound like Bach. The small ensembles culled from the choral ranks couldn’t be lovelier, which matters a lot in a work where angels keep charge over us and bid us lift our eyes unto the hills. © 2016 American Record Guide Read complete review on American Record Guide



Peter Quantrill
Gramophone, June 2016

Hans-Christoph Rademann’s own direction, for starters: lively, with a terrific swing to the Baal choruses and a solid pulse for the Baroque pillars surrounding each part of the work. © 2016 Gramophone Read complete review on Gramophone

…for a stylish and full-blooded Elias, there is much to recommend Rademann. © 2016 Gramophone





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