Edward Elgar: The Dream of Gerontius, Op. 38 (1999) 2 CDs
Richard Lewis, tenor; Dame Janet Baker, mezzo-soprano; Kim Borg, bass
Hallé Orchestra & Choir; Sheffield Philharmonic Chorus; Ambrosian Singers;
conducted by Sir John Barbirolli
EAC | FLAC | Image (Cue&Log) ~ 488 Mb | Mp3 (CBR320) ~ 240 Mb | Scans included
Classical, Choral, Oratorio | Label: EMI | # 7243 5 73579 2 0 | Time: 01:38:16
'The Dream of Gerontius' is probably Edward Elgar's masterpiece and certainly one of the glories of the English oratorio tradition. A setting of Cardinal Newman's poem about a man's death and the journey of his soul toward heaven, it is one of the most heartwarming affirmations of faith and salvation in all of music and also a work of great intensity and passion, influenced by both Mahler and Italian opera. Several great British conductors have left their mark on 'Gerontius,' but none was more strongly associated with it than Sir John Barbirolli, who directed it many times before making this famous recording, which he regarded as a testament of his own faith, in 1964. While Barbirolli's Halle Orchestra and the combined choirs distinguish themselves mightily, the crowning asset of this vividly dramatic reading is Janet Baker's glowing performance as the Angel, a breath of life which makes an already powerful experience unforgettable.