Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Elgar, Anne Sofie von Otter, David Rendall|
Elgar: The Dream of Gerontius
Elgar's Dream of Gerontius was thought by many to be outlandishly modern at the time of its completion in 1900. Telling the story of the journey of a dying man's soul into the afterlife, the subject originally caused uproa... more »
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Elgar's Dream of Gerontius was thought by many to be outlandishly modern at the time of its completion in 1900. Telling the story of the journey of a dying man's soul into the afterlife, the subject originally caused uproar within the English church yet is now acclaimed as one of the great choral masterpieces and one of Elgar's most popular works.
Bill | West Hartford, CT | 02/21/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I have waited for this recording for over 20 years. Having heard Davis perform Gerontius with Jessye Norman and Stuart Burrows in Boston in the early 80s, I could never understand why a conductor of such talent and sensitivity was never recorded in this work. In this LSO Live recording, Davis does not disappoint, bringing a performance of extraordinary perception and beauty. His conducting matches the drama and spirituality of Boult's 1970s reading, in my view--the best-conducted of stereo versions. That version is highly recommended, as well as Hickox's Chandos version, which has superb sound. The fifth star is missing from this because the sound provided by LSO Live lacks the last ounce of depth and atmosphere. Compare The LSO Live Elgar 1st Symphony and that released by Profil from Dresden--both conducted by Davis--and you'll hear that the Barbican, ultimately, is not the most hospitable recording venue. That said, the engineers have done the best they can. The chorus sounds rich and full under the circumstances, and, as with Davis's Peter Grimes, they are deeply involved in the proceedings, further justifying the purchase of this version. David Rendall, an excellent and fluid Mozart singer of the 1980s, has since taken on heavier roles and substituted for Ben Heppner at the last moment in this run of performances. He gives a highly-nuanced and credible reading, preferable in some ways to Nicolai Gedda (certainly preferable, to my ears, to Peter Pears), but not quite as vocally pure as Arthur Davies' performance on Chandos. A bigger disappointment is in Von Otter's reading, as her voice lacks the contralto depth and richness this role requires. Her intelligence, however, and sensitivity cannot be questioned. I have not heard the SACD version; my complaint about the sound is slight, and concerns the depth and richness--not the stereo separation. My reservations, however, should not send a potential buyer elsewhere necessarily: make no mistake, this is a beautiful reading and an important document of Davis's career and his work with Elgar and the LSO."