Naxos - Halle
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The Hallé gave its first concert on 30th January 1858 under the baton of its founder Sir Charles Hallé. Until his death in 1895 Sir Charles conducted almost every concert, and performed as piano soloist at many. His sudden death shocked Manchester and the wider musical world, with his funeral procession bringing the city to a standstill. Three of his closest friends immediately set about securing the future of the Orchestra. The 1895-96 season had already been planned and so Henry Simon, Gustav Behrens and James Forsyth guaranteed it against loss. They renewed this commitment for a further three years whilst they set about forming and incorporating the Hallé Concerts Society. Under the guidance of such distinguished conductors as Hans Richter, Sir Hamilton Harty and Sir John Barbirolli the Orchestra continued to thrive and develop. For the vast majority of its history the Hallé’s home in Manchester was the Free Trade Hall. When war broke out in 1939 the building was requisitioned and of course bombed in the Manchester Blitz. During the war period the Hallé performed concert series in the Albert Hall and Kings Hall Belle Vue, as well in various other venues in and around Manchester including a variety of cinemas. The Free Trade Hall was rebuilt, opening with a triumphant season of concerts in 1951. The Hallé performed its last concert there on 30th June 1996 before moving into its magnificent new home just a few minutes walk away at The Bridgewater Hall.


Sir Mark Elder joined the Hallé in 2000 and since his arrival there have been a number of major initiatives including the launch of the Hallé’s own CD label in 2003. The label, comprising high quality studio recordings and exceptional live recordings, immediately became noticeable for its diversity and breadth of repertoire. Already, the label includes highly acclaimed interpretations of Elgar’s music, and works by Richard Strauss, Sibelius, Debussy, Wagner, Nielsen, Vaughan Williams and Colin Matthews.


In its 150th anniversary year, the Hallé released Sir Mark’s long-awaited and dramatic interpretation of Elgar’s great oratorio ‘The Dream of Gerontius’ which received the 2009 Classic FM Gramophone Choral Award. Other accolades have included a Diapason d’Or for the recording of Debussy’s ‘La Mer’ and the first set of Colin Matthews’ orchestrations of Debussy Preludes, and in 2010, the Hallé became the first orchestra to win two Gramophone Awards in one year, with its recordings of Wagner’s ‘Götterdämmerung’ and Elgar’s Violin Concerto with Thomas Zehetmair.

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