SOMM RECORDINGS adds to its acclaimed treasure trove of historic recordings with Volume III of Elgar from America, again masterminded by the extraordinary restoration talents of Lani Spahr.
Its centrepiece is a live 1959 Carnegie Hall recording of Elgar’s masterpiece, The Dream of Gerontius, with the Philharmonic-Symphony Orchestra conducted by one of the composer’s most eloquent and ardent champions, Sir John Barbirolli.
Elgar hailed Barbirolli as “a rising hope of music in England for whom I have admiration and in whose work I have confidence”. His trust in the conductor led to a long, mutually admiring relationship between two men who did so much to define English music.
The soloists include Richard Lewis (Gerontius), Maureen Forrester (The Angel) and Morley Meredith (The Priest and the Angel of the Agony).
Also recorded live in 1959 is the Introduction and Allegro for Strings, with Barbirolli and the NYP-SO joined by violinists John Corigliano and Leopold Rybb, William Lincer on viola, and cellist Laszlo Varga. Making their first appearance on disc are two choruses from Scenes from the Saga of King Olaf with J Spencer Cornwall directing the Mormon Tabernacle Choir in 1953 and 1956.
Elgar from America, Volume I (ARIADNE 5005) was hailed by Classical Music Daily as “a fine start to this historic cycle” while MusicWeb International called it “a model of one of the things the CD should be doing that one cannot simply over-hear…Essential listening”.
Of Volume II (ARIADNE 5008), MusicWeb International said: “Elgar aficionados will want to hear this disc”, adding: “Lani Spahr’s transfers and booklet notes are alike excellent”.
Lani Spahr’s previous restorations of historic Elgar recordings for SOMM Recordings include Elgar Rediscovered (SOMMCD 0167) and the four-disc set Elgar Remastered (SOMMCD 261-4) which featured recordings from the composer’s own collection and was hailed by Audiophilia as “a fascinating achievement which will have you wishing for more”.
On This Recording
- Introduction and Allegro for String Quartet and String Orchestra, Op. 47 (1905)
- Chorus: The Challenge of Thor
- Chorus: As Torrents in Summer
- Gerontius: Jesu Maria, I am near to death
- Gerontius: Rouse thee, my fainting soul
- Gerontius: Sanctus fortis, Sanctus Deus
- I can no more
- The Priest: Proficiscere, anima Christiana
- The soul: I went to sleep
- The Angel: My work is done
- Chorus: Low-born clods of brute earth
- The Soul: I see not close false spirits
- Chorus of Angelicals: Praise to the Holiest
- The Angel: And now the threshold
- The Angel: Thy judgment now is near
- Semi-Chorus: Be merciful
- The Angel: Softly and gently
Scenes from the Saga of King Olaf, Op. 30 (1986)*
The Dream of Gerontius: Op. 38: Part I (1900)
The Dream of Gerontius: Op. 38: Part II