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Edward Elgar, The Dream of Gerontius

Edward Elgar, Mark Elder Audio CD
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
Price: £17.82 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Edward Elgar, The Dream of Gerontius + Elgar The Kingdom Op.51 + Edward Elgar The Apostles Op.49 (Recorded Live)
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Product details

  • Performer: Paul Groves tenor, Alice Coote soprano, Bryn Terfel baritone, Sir Mark Elder conductor
  • Orchestra: Hallé
  • Conductor: Sir Mark Elder
  • Composer: Edward Elgar
  • Audio CD (27 Oct 2008)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Label: Hallé
  • ASIN: B001IO152O
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 68,436 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Disc: 1
1. Prelude
2. Jesu, Maria - I Am Near to Death
3. Kyrie Eleison...Holy Mary, Pray for Him
4. Rouse Thee, My Fainting Soul
5. Sanctus Fortis, Sanctus Deus
6. I Can No More
7. Proficisere, Anima Christiana
Disc: 2
1. Introduction
2. I Went to Sleep
3. My Work Is Done
4. It Is a Member of That Family
5. But Hark!...Low-born Clods of Brute Earth
6. Dispossessed, Aside Thrust
7. I See Not Those False Spirits
8. There Was a Mortal...Praise to the Holiest
9. But Hark! A Grand Mysterious Harmony
10. Praise to the Holiest
See all 20 tracks on this disc

Product Description

Alice Coote (Angel) - Paul Groves (Gerontius) - Bryn Terfel (Priest/Angel of Theagony) - Hallé - Sir Mark Elder, direction

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
37 of 39 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "But hark! a grand mysterious harmony" 10 May 2009
By rjmcr
Format:Audio CD
I remember seeing Elder conducting the Halle in this piece in a televised BBC Prom concert a few years ago and being profoundly moved by it. Unfortunately, I was away when they performed it in Manchester last July but this splendid studio recording, made over the following days with the same team, almost makes up for it.

Elder draws on all of his experience as both a noted Elgar and opera conductor to deliver an intelligently conceived and perfectly paced interpretation which, for me, proves without doubt that it is possible to make Elgar's late-Victorian grandeur relevant in the 21st century without resorting to wilful distortions of tempo and exaggerated phrasing. Compare the end of Elder's great "Praise to the Holiest" chorus with the ridiculously accellerated recent version by Oramo and the CBSO, for example.
It is so easy for less empathetic conductors to fall into the trap of presenting Part II of this work as a series of tableaux or, worse still, as three great choruses linked by solo recitatives. Elder sidesteps these pitfalls and continually integrates and progresses the drama without it ever feeling rushed, never losing sight of the entire musical structure.
Overall, he shaves about two minutes off each part compared to the classic Halle / Barbirolli recording and yet he somehow feels less driven and demonic, totally confident in the music's ability to present itself.

The Halle themselves are in a different class to their 1964 incarnation. I personally think it's a crime that this superb orchestra is not more widely recorded. This music is in the Halle's blood and they play with real panache throughout, exposing details in the score that you possibly never knew were there.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars I wonder..... 24 Feb 2013
By ..
Format:Audio CD
I've been back to this recording several times but still have difficulty hearing what others hear, at least in part. The choir are marvellous and Paul Groves is an excellent Gerontius, and there are some beautiful orchestral sounds. However Bryn Terfel is certainly rougher than his considerable best. Alice Coote does some lovely things but there are also times where her sound changes worryingly in mid-phrase, as if she's a different singer. My main problem, however, is that some passages seem to me to operate at a low emotional level, admittedly probably not helped by a low recording level. Elgar wanted Gerontius to be a passionate work and while one doesn't need to go to the theatricality of Barbirolli I'm not sure he intended sections like the exchanges at the beginning of Part 2, which don't quite avoid reminiscence of cocktail party conversation, or episodes, such as the Prelude, where for me the surge of feeling seems to be replaced merely by orchestral weight. All the Halle series of Elgar choral works have had moments where the momentum seemed in danger of faltering (but not, strangely, the orchestral series, which has been outstanding) and those happen here, one at a critical point for me. Just before this was published the Oramo recording came out on the CBSO's own label. While it's also not without imperfections, turn to that and you get the moments of rapt intensity and the swell of Elgarian feeling that picks you up and carries you along with it.
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30 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Gerontius for today 23 Dec 2008
Format:Audio CD
It is generally acknowledged by those who love Elgar's extraordinary masterpiece, that the definitive recording has yet to appear. This verson comes very close to that ideal. The orchstral playing and choral singing are by far the best we have had on CD, as is the recording. Mark Elder's conducting is almost beyond praise, alert and responsive to all the composer's detailed requirements. Which brings us to the soloists. Paul Groves is a fine Gerontius. He has a lovely voice and if phrases do not linger in the memory as they do with some other interpreters that is a small matter. The relative disappointment is Bryn Terfel. There seem to be some difficulties in voice production and an inability to sing really quietly when required. But he is still better than many rivals. For many of us the definitive Angel is that of Janet Baker in the 1964 recording conducted by Barbirolli. It is difficult to hear anybody else sing the role without wishing you were listening to Baker - until now. Alice Coote has a very individual voice of rare beauty which she deploys with consummate skill. It all adds up to a Gerontius which is as near perfection as we are likely to hear in this wicked world.
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31 of 34 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars You are allowed sing quietly too Bryn 13 Jan 2009
Format:Audio CD
This is a superb performance,in my view the best since the similarly flawed Barbirolli recording. Most of the credit must go to the conductor Sir Mark Elder, who extracts the highest standards from both Orchestra and Choir. Coote is no Baker but she is still very moving,and Groves is the best of the modern tenors in the title role. The draw back, as in the Barbirolli recording is the role of the priest/ angel of the agony. Bryn Terfel is an enigma. Just as in his bland Wotan a few years ago he exhibits a magnificent voice but apparently has nothing much to say and most distractingly is simply always loud. Too many cross over discs perhaps. His is a mediocre effort, which is the reason for 4 stars not 5, but lovers of Elgar should snap this recording up
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Edward Elgar The Dream of Geronius
One of my favourites by Edward
Elgar. Wonderful to listen to when driving; A piece of Elgar hat everyone should own
Published 6 months ago by Irene Stainthorpe
5.0 out of 5 stars Welsh voice of
MY friends would love this recording especially with the Welsh voice of Bryn Terfel,this is a recording well worth buying.
Published 7 months ago by ann myfanwy jones
5.0 out of 5 stars Great performance
Elgar at his best. Delivered bye reformers who really understand the music with gratifying results. Tis is music that should be better known
Published 19 months ago by ADI
3.0 out of 5 stars Very Good performances spoiled by disappointing sound quality
I have been a little disappointed by this recording of "The Dream". Although the choir and soloists perform well I find that I'm distracted by the low sound levels... Read more
Published 20 months ago by Bertie
5.0 out of 5 stars The best of a distinguished bunch
I have had this recording for some time, having listened to it after I purchased it concluded it was generally ok! Read more
Published on 16 April 2011 by Mahlerian Duck
5.0 out of 5 stars Best of British
This is a superb recording of a choral work that stands alongside the very best of the European composers, yet remains very English in its sound and content.
Published on 18 Jun 2010 by M. A. Amies
5.0 out of 5 stars Softly and gently
Sir John Barbirolli's classic recording will always be my favourite but this recording is an essential simply because of Alice Coote's 'Softly and gently'. Read more
Published on 1 April 2009 by Reverend Andrew J. Howell
5.0 out of 5 stars Dream of Gerontius
A wonderful new recording of this Elgar masterpiece.the soloists are superb,excellent diction and the orchestra are world class. Read more
Published on 9 Mar 2009 by D. MACRAE
5.0 out of 5 stars Halle/Elder/Dream of Gerontius
This maybe the new definitive recording of Gerontius. Paul Groves (tenor) is magnificent and the orchestra and choir deliver an extremely accomplished performance.
Published on 23 Nov 2008 by M. Edwards
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