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Elgar: The Dream of Gerontius - The Music Makers / Gedda, Watts, Lloyd, Baker; Boult
Edward Elgar, Philharmonic Orchestra & Chorus, New Philharmonia Orchestra
Elgar: The Dream of Gerontius - The Music Makers / Gedda, Watts, Lloyd, Baker; Boult
Genre: Classical
 
  •  Track Listings (21) - Disc #1
  •  Track Listings (21) - Disc #2

Elgar's Dream of Gerontius is, in effect, a sung tone poem and resides at the core of English choral music; it is the supreme achievement among Elgar's large-scale works. Interestingly, its premiere came in the last months...  more »

      
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All Artists: Edward Elgar, Philharmonic Orchestra & Chorus, New Philharmonia Orchestra, Sir Adrian Boult, Nicolai Gedda, Dame Janet Baker, Helen Watts, Robert Lloyd, John Alldis Choir
Title: Elgar: The Dream of Gerontius - The Music Makers / Gedda, Watts, Lloyd, Baker; Boult
Members Wishing: 0
Total Copies: 0
Label: EMI Classics
Original Release Date: 1/1/1975
Re-Release Date: 1/12/1999
Album Type: Original recording reissued
Genre: Classical
Styles: Opera & Classical Vocal, Symphonies
Number of Discs: 2
SwapaCD Credits: 2
UPC: 724356654020

Synopsis

Amazon.com essential recording
Elgar's Dream of Gerontius is, in effect, a sung tone poem and resides at the core of English choral music; it is the supreme achievement among Elgar's large-scale works. Interestingly, its premiere came in the last months of the 19th century, a time, much like our own, when fluctuating styles and experimentation existed alongside a lingering and powerful devotion to the older, traditional ways. Thus, the release of this classic 1975 recording (intelligently paired with another sumptuous, musically significant choral work, The Music Makers) is not only timely but serves to remind us of how successfully Elgar bridged both Romanticism's dwindling currents and the swelling streams of impressionism and atonality. This performance, featuring the 86-year-old Adrian Boult in total, rock-steady command, shows what magic can happen when conductor and performers are in complete sync, musically and philosophically. The melodies are abundant and beautiful, the choral writing is magnificent, and the sound, especially in Gerontius, is full and vibrant. --David Vernier

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CD Reviews

Glorious gerontius
Mr. Ian A. Macfarlane | Fife, Scotland | 03/09/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)

"EMI recorded Gerontius under Boult very near the end of the conductor's active career. He had known Elgar (they first met around 1903) and was very highly thought of by the composer, who is on record as believing that the future of his music was safe in Boult's hands. Gerontius is a wonderful piece, and this is the magical, historic performance that everyone hoped it would be. Boult's great gift was in seeing a work whole, the entire architecture, and that is exactly what happens here, but in addition there are thrilling moments - the hair-raising demons' chorus, the tremendous 'Praise to the Holiest' and the shattering crash when Gerontius sees the face of God - and the most beautiful lyrical phrasing in the gentler orchestral bits. The choice of Nicolai Gedda as Gerontius was inspired, and his beautiful ringing tenor is just right ; Helen Watts is idiomatic and reliable (though not as exciting as Janet Baker in the Barbirolli version) and Robert Lloyd is first-rate. This is probably the best 'Gerontius' on disc. It is uniquely authoritative, works excellently in the details and as a whole, and is unwaveringly beautiful to listen to. 'The Music Makers', a lesser work (which DOES, however, have the unrivalled Janet Baker), is enjoyable and idiomatic too, and useful bonus, but 'Gerontius' is what this set is all about."
Boult's Gerontius
KH | Chicago, IL | 04/21/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Alongside Sir John Barbirolli's recording of this music, this is the greatest Gerontius yet committed to disk. I would not want to be without either performance, and each is equally great in its own way.Where Barbirolli stresses a dramatic, almost operatic approach to the work, Boult opts for a grand, majestic, oratorio style, without degenerating into pomposity or stuffiness. There is a tremendous grandeur, and a monumental feel, to the entire performance. Gedda seems like an odd choice for Gerontius, but his English is free of any accent, and he brings all the commitment and fervor we came to expect from him. Watts is not the equal of Barbirolli's mezzo, Janet Baker, but she sings in many ways beyond her stature, sounding truly great at times. Lloyd is my favorite singer for the role of the Priest/Angel. Choral work is highly polished, and in the Demons chorus Boult really lets them open up. Recorded sound is first rate.The Music Makers is a lesser work, but well worth hearing. The sound is a bit dated (earlier than Gerontius), and the chorus not quite as polished. But Baker is outstanding (as always) and there are few recordings of this piece.Indispensible for any Elgarian."
Janet Baker at her Best!
Neil A. Dellar | McLean, VA USA | 10/12/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Having already acquired a number of recordings of the Dream, I wanted this recording because of The Music Makers. This is truly a wonderful elegaic work. Barbirolli told Janet Baker to "sing it as though you're dreaming." She does, and the effect is very moving.The Gerontius under Boult is very good and Helen Watts is a lovely Angel (even though she doesn't go for the top A). My one small gripe with the recording is Gedda. I much admire him but his English is not accented and this affects my enjoyment. Robert Lloyd makes a great Priest and Angel of the Agony."