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4.6 out of 5 stars16
4.6 out of 5 stars
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 18 December 2005
This was recorded very late in Sir Adrian's life, the last of his recordings of the Elgar oratorios. I think it's the best. Everything seems right - the pacing, the phrasing, the atmosphere. The Demons' Chorus is not just exciting but rasping and angry, the build-up to 'Praise to the Holiest' inexorable and beautifully paced so that the climax when the praise-song comes is overwhelming .. and then it is even more powerful as the song moves on and, speeding up, intensifies. As for the moment when Gerontius sees God for an instant, which I suppose is the spiritual climax of the whole work, that is devastating. All the quieter passages are handled with great beauty and gentleness, so that the performance operates effectively on all the levels of the work and creates a very satisfying whole. The soloists are marvellous, particularly Nicolai Gedda as the most ringing-toned but also vulnerable Gerontius on CD. It is fair to point out that some have found his pronunciation of English mannered, but Elgar wanted an 'Italian tenor' for this role, and Swedish though he is, Gedda has the full-throated abandon, where required, to fit this characterisation. The recording is well balanced and very natural. It's a Penguin three-start asterisked set, and that is no surprise. Certainly one to hear. 'The Music Makers' with Janet Baker is a good bonus and, uneven as it is, is very fine in this performance, though the choir is balanced a little backwardly.
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on 7 October 2012
This is a wonderful account of Gerontius that had me in tears. Gedda makes a fine Gerontius and Robert LLoyd is simply outstanding as the priest. The phrasing by Boult and the recording are both excellent. I found Janet Bakers voice less rounded than her recording with Barbirolli but more than acceptable. The Barbirolli recording Elgar: The Dream of Gerontius is fine but Kim Borgs struggling with the English pronunciation as the priest is a no go area for me.
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on 14 March 2015
Overall, this is an excellent performance with superb soloists. For me, Nicolai Gedda's interpretation is just wonderful and Robert Lloyd's splendid bass a refreshing change from Kim Borg in Barbirolli’s otherwise fine recording. Helen Watts makes a fine job of the contralto part.

The chorus is excellent and the orchestra equally so, except for the awful ‘blip’ in the introduction to the Angel's Farewell when the ensemble temporarily falls to pieces. One has to ask why it was allowed to remain in the final edit?

Excellent though Helen Watts is, what a shame that in the 'Allelujah' just before the Soul sees God, she does not take the (admittedly, optional) top A, but sings the less dramatic E below. This is a highlight missed and does not bear comparison with Janet Baker at the same point for Barbirolli.

This is one of four recordings I have of Gerontius and much as I appreciate the many fine qualities of this version, I do not feel it quite matches that by Barbirolli. I have yet to hear the version by Mark Elder, which I understand may be a worthy alternative.
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on 13 August 2009
Very fine accounts by Sir Adrian Boult, excellent casts with a deeply felt Gerontius(Gedda). The Music Makers is a very inspired piece with several elgarian themes (paticularly moving the ones from Enigma Variations and from the Second Symphony) The recorded sound is superb.
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on 10 December 2010
Although this is a remastering of the original recording (which some purists may reject if only for this reason)it nevertheless provides someone with no in-depth knowledge of this work to gain a good feel for it. The soloists and chorus, in particular, seem to to me to be very good. For anyone wanting only an exposure to this work, with only an inexpensive player, this recording will be an excellent introduction.
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on 7 February 2014
I really love this CD - it is a very easy learning tool as I've never sung this piece before and needed to be able to listen to every part to work my own out. I'd recommend it to anyone who is learning this piece
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on 7 September 2013
I can't imagine a better performance of Gerontius and the transfer is impeccable, I think. I saw Boult do this work when I was young - and his presence is here in this recording.
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on 16 May 2013
A performance by the masters of English music in an interpretation of Elgar' s master piece by his champion Sir Adrian Boult
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on 8 June 2014
I cannot really comment on this as although I know the work very well, I am not a judge of music, of the technique or interpretation. I just love it.
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on 23 April 2016
A great selection from Elgar's works; a tour de force of many favourites of mine.
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