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Thread: Elgar Dream of Gerontius - Handley

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    Member aussiebushman's Avatar
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    Default Elgar Dream of Gerontius - Handley

    I have several different performances of this marvelous work but only one of the two CDs of the the Vernon Handley set on Eminence - probably picked this up at a street sale when the other CD was missing. After hunting on the Internet, I still cannot find a full set for sale, so if anyone knows where to get one, please provide the link.

    Another one I do NOT have is probably the finest of all - the 1964 Barbirolli with Janet Baker and Richard Lewis. There is a clip at [URL="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-eJmnemMWfY"] Anyone know where to find a complete recording of this version? OR maybe the 1965 Boult version, also with Baker, though I am no fan of Peter Pears.

    Other than that one, the Handley performance with the Royal LIverpool is arguably one of the most satisfying, I have no recollection of hearing Anthony Rolfe Johnson before this but Catherine Wynn Rogers is superb. She also features in the performance under Andrew Davis with Philip Landridge. I am not especially fond of Landridge's voice, but it is so much better than having to listen to the wobbly David Rendell in the other Davis recording.

    The Boult performance is excellent with Helen Watts, though Gedda in the title role is a bit of an acquired taste.
    Last edited by aussiebushman; Apr-22-2018 at 02:56.

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    Senior Member wkasimer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by aussiebushman View Post
    I have several different performances of this marvelous work but only one of the two CDs of the the Vernon Handley set on Eminence - probably picked this up at a street sale when the other CD was missing. After hunting on the Internet, I still cannot find a full set for sale, so if anyone knows where to get one, please provide the link.

    Another one I do NOT have is probably the finest of all - the 1964 Barbirolli with Janet Baker and Richard Lewis. There is a clip at [URL="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-eJmnemMWfY"] Anyone know where to find a complete recording of this version? OR maybe the 1965 Boult version, also with Baker, though I am no fan of Peter Pears.

    Other than that one, the Handley performance with the Royal LIverpool is arguably one of the most satisfying, I have no recollection of hearing Anthony Rolfe Johnson before this but Catherine Wynn Rogers is superb. She also features in the performance under Andrew Davis with Philip Landridge. I am not especially fond of Landridge's voice, but it is so much better than having to listen to the wobbly David Rendell in the other Davis recording.

    The Boult performance is excellent with Helen Watts, though Gedda in the title role is a bit of an acquired taste.
    There are plenty of copies of the Barbirolli commercial set on Amazon. The 1965 Boult is commercially available on DVD. I haven’t seen it, but I’ve heard a poor sounding radio broadcast, and it’s really quite a performance.

    For something current, try Davis’ last recording, a live performance from Dresden with Paul Groves.

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    Senior Member elgars ghost's Avatar
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    Re the Handley set- one used copy in VGC is selling for £18.99 on Amazon's UK site. You would have to check if the seller would post to Oz, though - some marketplace sellers tend to sell only within their own country.



    https://www.amazon.co.uk/Elgar-Dream...=elgar+handley

    Hope this helps.
    Last edited by elgars ghost; Apr-22-2018 at 18:50.
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    Here in Oz, a lot of the problem is delivery costs - especially Amazon. It is quite common for the delivery charges to significantly exceed the item price. Conversely there are several vendors who provide reasonable or even zero delivery charges particularly from the UK. I'll certainly keep looking for the Handley and Barbirolli recordings but would pass on the Boult, having an active dislike for Pears.

    Thanks for the tip about Davis/Paul Groves - have never heard that version. His rendition of the earlier version was excellent but why he ever settled for Rendell is a mystery - for me, it ruined the entire performance

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    Senior Member wkasimer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by aussiebushman View Post
    I'll certainly keep looking for the Handley and Barbirolli recordings but would pass on the Boult, having an active dislike for Pears.
    I'm actually something of a Pears fan, although I can certainly understand antipathy toward his vocalism. But the earlier live Boult recording finds him in much better voice than the later studio version conducted by Britten.

    Thanks for the tip about Davis/Paul Groves - have never heard that version.
    I'm generally not a fan of Groves - I heard him give some decidedly mediocre performances here in Boston early in his career, probably because he really wasn't suited to bel canto repertoire. But his Gerontius is superb, and everything else about the performance is, too.

    His rendition of the earlier version was excellent but why he ever settled for Rendell is a mystery - for me, it ruined the entire performance.
    The Gerontius in that performance was supposed to be Ben Heppner, who cancelled due to indisposition. Rendall stepped in at the last minute to allow the performance to happen at all.

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    Thank you for your Rendell comment in particular. I could not understand why someone as capable as Andrew David would have actively selected a singer with such a wobbly vibrato. I am not familiar with Groves but will certainly accept your recommendation.

    As for Pears, I doubt I have ever listened to his early recordings, having been most unhappy with whatever I have heard. This is the problem of judging only by what one has heard. For example, if one judged Gerhard Husch only from his late recordings, one would be most disappointed. In the earlier recording made when he was in his prime he is simply superb

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