Falstaff / Tom O'shanter (2CD)
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A unique recording of Elgar’s Falstaff played by the BBC National Orchestra of Wales under Andrew Constantine in two versions: both with and without excerpts from Shakespeare’s Henry IV Parts I and II performed by Timothy West and Samuel West. Alongside Elgar’s magnificent response to Shakespeare’s loveable rogue, we hear American composer George Whitefield Chadwick’s Tam O’Shanter, an interpretation of the poem by Scottish national poet Robert Burns, featuring Erik Chapman as Chadwick and Billy Wiz as Burns. Both Falstaff and Tam O’Shanter are louche, larger-than-life characters, inspiring Chadwick to write a score full of colour and humour, and Elgar to create a portrait of Shakespearean scale and depth. Elgar’s work can be heard here in an exceptional performance from the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, in one version interspersed with readings from Timothy West as Falstaff, and Samuel West as Prince Hal.