Edward Elgar: The Dream of Gerontius

The inclusion of the Severn Suite here has more than a passing claim on the potential purchaser. Elgar originally wrote the work for brass band, but for many years both the original manuscript and the performing score by Henry Geehl had disappeared. When the latter was rediscovered in 1980, it was found to be a full tone higher than the published version (which Elgar himself later orchestrated) and Geoffrey Brand produced a version in the original key which also took note of changes the composer had introduced into the orchestral score. The differences are minor but the presentation is obviously of interest to Elgarians and the recording of the score, made in a resonant acoustic, is superbly well assured.

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The Severn Suite Op. 87

1. Introduction / Toccata / Fugue / Minuet
The Dream of Gerontius Op.38
2. Prelude, Jesu Maria / O lord into thy hands
3. Proficiscere, anima Christiana / through the same, through Christ our Lord

4. I went to sleep / and heaven begun
5. But hark, upon my sense comes a fierce hubbub / In all His ways!
6. Thy judgement now is near / Amen

ArtistAlfreda Hodgson, contralto Robert Tear, tenor Benjamin Luxon, baritone Scottish National Orchestra & Chorus conducted by Sir Alexander Gibson London Collegiate Brass conducted by James Stobart
Reviews“Sir Alexander Gibson already had quite a reputation as an Elgarian in the period before this Gerontius was released, and his recording of The Spirit of England had helped to rescue a work that had been consigned to outer darkness for years. The choir and orchestra both rise to the many challenges of the score with enthusiasm and conviction. Gibson’s approach to the work is dramatic and forward-thrusting, and the recorded sound has a very wide dynamic range which can well encompass the extremes of Elgar’s demands.…a first-time comer to Gerontius could do worse.” Paul Corfield Godfrey, MusiWeb-international.com “I have found this reading of Gibson’s an overwhelming experience. The whole affair has an inspirational immediacy which maintains its grip on the listener from first bar to last. If you already have one of the other recordings, you will still find that this one adds to your appreciation of Elgar’s genius. Those setting out to buy their first recorded Gerontius this CRD set must be your first choice.” Geoffrey Crankshaw, Records and Recording
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