Elgar: The Dream of Gerontius, Op. 38

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Elgar: The Dream of Gerontius & Sea Pictures

Elgar: The Dream of Gerontius & Sea Pictures


Elgar:

The Dream of Gerontius, Op. 38

Stuart Skelton (tenor), Sarah Connolly (mezzo) & David Soar (bass)

Sea Pictures, Op. 37

Sarah Connolly (mezzo)


Chandos Records is delighted to present this new recording of Elgar’s choral masterpiece The Dream of Gerontius and the enduringly popular song cycle Sea Pictures. The BBC Symphony Orchestra and Chorus are conducted by Sir Andrew Davis, a peerless Elgarian who this year was awarded the prestigious Elgar Society Medal in recognition of his outstanding contribution to the composer’s music. In Gerontius the soloists are Stuart Skelton, David Soar and Sarah Connolly, who also sings in Sea Pictures. This recording was made in the days leading up to their triumphant live performance of Gerontius in April of this year in which Skelton was praised as ‘the ideal tenor for the role of Gerontius’, Soar described as ‘an implacable, dark sounding Priest’ and Connolly, ‘a consummately polished Angel’ (The Guardian).

Elgar’s Dream of Gerontius was commissioned in 1900 for that year’s Birmingham Festival.

The score was produced in a hurry but Elgar had long before known the text which the work sets, Cardinal Newman’s religious poem that powerfully recounts the final dream of a dying believer and the journey of his soul through death. The performers struggled with Elgar’s score at the disastrous premier but this did nothing to stop the immediate popularity of The Dream of Gerontius. It is recognised today by many as the greatest choral work by any English composer.

Written not long before Gerontius, Sea Pictures sets a collection of poetry by different authors all on a single theme. Inspired by his love of nature, Elgar’s songs explore the emotional resonances of the sea, from serene still waters to a mighty ocean storm.

“Skelton’s bronzed Heldentenor suggests a mature Parsifal, one of Elgar’s inspirations. He is more visceral than the more cerebral British Gerontii, but his thrilling Take Me Away is surely just the Wagnerian sound Elgar wanted. Connolly’s Softly and Gently — and Sea Pictures — rivals Baker’s in beauty of tone.” Sunday Times, 19th October 2014

“Perfect Gerontius tenors are rare. Philip Langridge, who recorded it with Andrew Davis in 1997, was the last. Stuart Skelton, so different in voice colour, fuller and more heroic but similarly human, modest and touching, is every bit as brilliant... A disc of the year.” The Observer, 26th October 2014 *****

“[Davis's] patient and scrupulously observant conception of the whole work evinces a selfless authority, wisdom and instinctive ebb and flow...Skelton's stamina, dramatic range and ringing, Vickers-like tone are a tremendous asset...Soar, too, sings with lofty projection and unstinting eloquence...Arguably best of all, though, is Sarah Connolly, who brings a deeply affecting radiance, sense of wonder and intelligence to everything” Gramophone Magazine, November 2014

“among the best Gerontius performances on record. Davis resists the temptation to make the work sound like a flabby, imitation Parsifal and the results are outstandingly convincing...[Skelton] has the heft and stamina for Gerontius's most dramatic moments. He's too intelligent a singer, however, to belt them out operatically...This Gerontius is a wonderful achievement.” BBC Music Magazine, Christmas 2014 *****

“Connolly’s Sea Pictures is very good...the Andrew Davis Gerontius is a reading to cherish. He shapes Elgar’s masterwork with wonderful sensitivity, revelling in the work’s ethereal nods to the hereafter, but grounding the first part in the pain and uncertainty of the death-bed...Skelton is a fantastic Gerontius. He tones down the Heldentenor elements of the voice to stress role's vulnerability.” MusicWeb International, 2nd December 2014

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Elgar: The Dream of Gerontius & Symphony No. 1

Elgar: The Dream of Gerontius & Symphony No. 1


Elgar:

The Dream of Gerontius, Op. 38

Peter Auty (tenor), Michelle Breedt (mezzo soprano) & John Hancock (baritone)

with Collegium Vocale Gent

Symphony No. 1 in A flat major, Op. 55


The Dream of Gerontius has not been released on SACD before, so for the true SACD aficionado this is a must-buy.

“On this evidence, Edo de Waart is clearly an Elgar conductor of no mean instinct. Both performances benefit from his judiciously clear-sighted direction...there's an endearing freshness, sense of new discovery and wholehearted application about this substantial undertaking.” Gramophone Magazine, December 2013

“The First Symphony, in particular, burns under a surface sheen, and “The Dream of Gerontius” is intensely played and firmly sung.” New York Times, December 2013

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Elgar’s Interpreters on Record - Volume 6

Elgar’s Interpreters on Record - Volume 6


Elgar:

The Dream of Gerontius, Op. 38

Sung in German


Julius Patzak (tenor), Ira Malaniuk (mezzo-soprano) & Ludwig Welter (bass)

Chorus and Orchestra of Austrian Radio, Hans Swarowsky

The Elgar Society is proud to release this first commercial recording of The Dream of Gerontius performed in German. Licensed from Austrian Radio (ORF), the recording was made in Vienna in January 1960.

The Elgar Society formed in 1951 and The Dream of Gerontius is the 29th issue. In 2007 the Society worked in conjunction with the London Philharmonic Orchestra to produce a box set of Elgar’s recordings in order to commemorate the 150th anniversary of Elgar’s birth.

This release has its roots in the first (disastrous) performance of Gerontius in October 1900. Julius Buths, the music director of the Lower Rhine Festival, was present and despite the work’s lacklustre reception he saw potential. Buths set about translating the text into German for a performance he wanted to conduct in December 1901. By May 1902 Gerontius was being toasted by Richard Strauss prompting Elgar to write to Novello, his publisher, with excitement and enthusiasm: ‘It was worth some years of anguish-now I trust over- to hear him call me Meister!’

Elgar owed much to Germany and the German speaking world for, as journalist and music critic Michael Kennedy points out in his notes in the booklet accompanying this release, ‘Elgar would be delighted by the existence of this performance. Until 1914 his reputation in Germany was as high or even higher than in his own country’.

Of the soloists on this recording, tenor Julius Patzak will attract the most attention. In 1931 Patzak married the grandaughter of the famous operatic singer Gustav Walter. This assisted with launching the ‘amateur’ Patzak and he sang with the Vienna Staatsoper from 1945 until his retirement in 1960. Patzak was in great demand as a soloist in oratorios and as a leider singer, with the ORF being one of the last recordings to capture his voice. He died in Bavaria in January 1974 at the age of 75.

It is hoped that this release will stimulate renewed interest in The Dream of Gerontius, particularly in the German speaking world.

Booklet notes and full sung text are included in German and English.

Informed annotations penned by music critic Michael Kennedy.

“Elgar in German has a distinguished history: here's a great Gerontius. In 1960 Julius Patzak was 62 and nearing the end of his honoured career. The qualities that made him a great Florestan are still there to make him a great Gerontius. …the chorus… shines... Hans Swarowsky conducts with feeling and authority...” Gramophone Magazine, October 2008

“[Malaniuk] is very convincing as The Angel. Her tone is rich and full and she sings the part with fine expression and understanding....[Welter] has a fine, authoritative voice and he brings no little presence to both roles...[Swarowsky] seems to me to have the full measure of this score and an understanding of it.” MusicWeb International, 14th May 2014

“The performance manifests absolute belief in the work by all concerned: the great Julius Patzak (then 62), the mezzo Ira Malaniuk, Ludwig Welter (superb as the Angel of the Agony), chorus, orchestra and the conductor, Hans Swarowsky, whose grasp of the score is complete.” Sunday Times, 10th August 2008 ****

Elgar Society - EECD006007

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Elgar - The Dream of Gerontius

Elgar - The Dream of Gerontius


Berlioz:

Symphonie fantastique, Op. 14

live 2nd January 1947

The Halle Orchestra

Elgar:

The Dream of Gerontius, Op. 38

recorded 20th November 1957

Jon Vickers, Constance Shacklock & Marian Nowakowski

RAI Orchestra


“Vickers doesn't disappoint, singing with an intensity and a care for the sound and sense of every word that are well nigh ideal. As the Angel, Constance Shacklock, gravely beautiful if occasionally too grand, is first-class, too. The drama Barbirolli brings to the work is recognisable from his later studio account, but here the live sound is at best adequate and at worse unacceptable, with a microphone placed so close to the conductor that at times he seems to be duetting with Vickers. The orchestra and chorus do their best, which isn't quite good enough; it's Vickers who makes this a must-have.” The Guardian, 23rd May 2008 ***

Archipel Records - ARPCD0403

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Elgar: The Dream of Gerontius

Elgar: The Dream of Gerontius


Elgar:

The Dream of Gerontius, Op. 38

Severn Suite, Op. 87


CRD - CRD33267

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Elgar: The Dream of Gerontius & Parry: Blest Pair of Sirens & I was glad

Elgar: The Dream of Gerontius & Parry: Blest Pair of Sirens & I was glad


Elgar:

The Dream of Gerontius, Op. 38

Parry:

Blest Pair of Sirens

I Was Glad


Chandos - CHAN8641

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Elgar: The Dream of Gerontius, Op. 38

Elgar: The Dream of Gerontius, Op. 38


Matthew Best (bass), Sarah Fryer (mezzo soprano), William Kendall (tenor)

Bournemouth Symphony Chorus, Waynflete Singers Choir, Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, David Hill

Naxos - 8553885-86

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Barbirolli in New York: The 1959 Concerts

Barbirolli in New York: The 1959 Concerts


Barbirolli:

An Elizabethan Suite

Recorded 10th January, 1959

Brahms:

Violin Concerto in D major, Op. 77

Recorded 18th January, 1959

Berl Senofsky (violin)

Elgar:

The Dream of Gerontius, Op. 38

Recorded 25th January, 1959

Richard Lewis (tenor), Maureen Forrester (contralto), Morley Meredith (baritone)

Westminster Choir

Introduction & Allegro for strings, Op. 47

Recorded 3rd January, 1959

William Lincer (viola), John Corigliano & Leopold Rybb (violin) & Laszlo Varga (cello)

Haydn:

Symphony No. 88 in G major

Recorded 10th January, 1959

Holst:

The Planets: Mars

The Planets: Mercury

The Planets: Uranus

The Planets: Jupiter

Recorded 18th January, 1959

Mahler:

Symphony No. 1 in D major 'Titan'

Recorded 10th January, 1959

Vaughan Williams:

Symphony No. 8 in D minor

Recorded 3rd January, 1959


Barbirolli conducted the New York Philharmonic from 1936 to 1943 and returned to New York in 1959 to conduct the orchestra in a series of concerts featuring English repertoire rarely heard by Americans. Here are the best performances of Sir John’s visit, previously unissued, in state-of-the-art digital restorations. Includes “Dream of Gerontius” with Richard Lewis, a very fine Gerontius.

“[Gerontius] anticipates the superlative studio recording Barbirolli and Lewis made together with Janet Baker five years later, though Maureen Forrester is a more than capable Angel here and the baritone, Morley Meredith, is arguably superior to his later equivalent...The mono sound is patchy but just about serviceable, but Barbirolli fans won't worry about that.” The Guardian, 23rd September 2010 ***

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Elgar - Choral Works

Elgar - Choral Works


Elgar:

The Music Makers, Op. 69

The Dream of Gerontius, Op. 38

The Apostles, Op. 49

The Kingdom, Op. 51

Coronation Ode, Op. 44


London Philharmonic Choir & Orchestra & New Philharmonia Orchestra, Sir Adrian Boult

An illustrated talk by Sir Adrian Boult featuring Sir Adrian’s recordings with the London Philharmonic Orchestra

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British Music Collection - Edward Elgar

British Music Collection - Edward Elgar


Elgar:

Serenade for Strings in E minor, Op. 20

Academy of St Martin in the Fields, Neville Marriner

Symphony No. 1 in A flat major, Op. 55

London Philharmonic Orchestra, Georg Solti

Introduction & Allegro for strings, Op. 47

Elglish Chamber Orchestra, Benjamin Britten

Cello Concerto in E minor, Op. 85

Julian Lloyd Webber (cello)

Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Yehudi Menuhin

Enigma Variations, Op. 36

Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Georg Solti

Cockaigne Overture, Op. 40 'In London Town'

London Philharmonic Orchestra, Georg Solti

Violin Concerto in B minor, Op. 61

Kyung Wha Chung (violin)

Falstaff - Symphonic Study in C minor, Op. 68

Montreal Symphony Orchestra, Charles Dutoit

The Dream of Gerontius, Op. 38

Peter Pears, Yvonne Minton, John Shirley-Quirk

London Symphony Orchestra & Chorus, Choir of Kings College Cambridge, Benjamin Britten

Sea Pictures, Op. 37

Della jones (mezzo-soprano)

Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Charles Mackerras

In the South (Alassio), Op. 50

Pomp and Circumstance Marches Nos. 1-5, Op. 39

London Philharmonic Orchestra, Georg Solti

Imperial March, Op. 32

Band of the Grenadier Guards, Lt Col Rodney Bashford

Sospiri, Op. 70

Elegy for strings, Op. 58

Academy of St Martin in the Fields, Neville Marriner

The Wand of Youth Suite No. 1, Op. 1a

Starlight Express, Op. 78

Alison Hagley (soprano), Bryn Terfel (bass)

Dream Children, Op. 43

Welsh National Opera Orchestra, Charles Mackerras

Symphony No. 2 in E flat major, Op. 63

The Wand of Youth Suite No. 2, Op. 1b


Decca British Music Collection - E4732492

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