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Subject: Re: Gerontius
From: Paul Ricchi <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Paul Ricchi <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Mon, 5 Mar 2018 03:35:27 +0000
Content-Type:text/plain
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For those who may be interested, the Boston Philharmonic Orchestra is
performing Dream of Gerontius in Symphony Hall in April. (www.bostonphil.org
)


On Sun, Mar 4, 2018 at 9:53 PM Rich Lowenthal <[log in to unmask]>
wrote:

> 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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