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Subject: Gerontius
From: Rich Lowenthal <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Rich Lowenthal <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Mon, 5 Mar 2018 02:53:17 +0000
Content-Type:text/plain
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The entire performance is available on CD but in poor sound. It is the 
only recording of Vickers in the role.

The first performance of Gerontius was certainly cursed--it was done by 
an amateur chorus completely unequipped for Elgar's difficult score, and 
the chorus master died shortly before the performance. The conductor had 
very little time with the score, and the performance was a disaster. 
What's remarkable is that enough of the piece still came through that 
others recognized its quality--as proved when performed by a suitable 
company. (Elgar, who had a difficult relationship with religion, took 
the failure as a sign.)

Newman's Catholic words were unacceptable to many Anglicans, and for ten 
years the piece was done with "reformed" wording.

All of Elgar's oratorios (a term he did not like) are wonderful--The 
Apostles, The Kingdom, and the cantata Scenes from the Saga of King 
Olaf.

------ Original Message ------
From: "David Kubiak" <[log in to unmask]>
To: [log in to unmask]
Sent: 3/4/2018 9:21:32 PM
Subject: Re: Favorite non-opera vocal works?

>Somewhere this thread got turned to Frieda Leider and 'Tristan', but
>reverting to its title, one of my very favorite non-operatic vocal 
>works is
>Elgar's 'Gerontius'. Having once sung in the chorus for it (lucky for 
>me
>under Raymond Leppard, who is in the direct line of the performance
>tradition) it's not hard to see why the piece failed at its premiere 
>when
>apparently it was so recently finished each section only had its own 
>parts
>-- that demon bit is indeed fiendishly difficult. In any event, I just
>discovered a YouTube of the 'Sanctus, fortis' section with Jon Vickers 
>and
>Barbirolli, said to be from a 1957 performance in Rome.  He is quite
>magnificent -- I cannot imagine that the part has been sung better 
>before or
>since.  And it surprises me a little that he did it, since Newman's 
>poem is
>very Catholic in a devotional way and Vickers was known to be a very
>convicted Protestant.  Does anybody know if there is more of the 
>performance
>preserved?
>
>Thanks.
>
>David Kubiak
>
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