Magazine article Gramophone

Flemish Forces Record Elgar's Masterpiece under De Waart

Magazine article Gramophone

Flemish Forces Record Elgar's Masterpiece under De Waart

Article excerpt

Elgar

The Dream of Gerontius, Op 38 (a).

Symphony No 1, Op 55

(a) Michelle Breedt mez (a)Peter Auty ten (a) John Hancock

bar (a)Collegium Vocale, Ghent; Royal Flemish

Philharmonic Orchestra/Edo de Waart

Pentatone [M] [LP] PTC5186 472 142' x DDD/DSD)

On this evidence, Edo de Waart is clearly an Elgar conductor of no mean instinct. Both performances benefit from his judiciously clear-sighted direction; numerous felicities within Elgar's meticulously detailed canvases are skilfully brought out, and he undoubtedly has the measure of both these large-scale masterworks.

De Waart's Gerontius launches most propitiously with a subtly blended, raptly intuitive account of the Prelude. Not only is the playing of the Royal Flemish PO devoted and disciplined but de Waart also sees to it that textures have that authentically Elgarian glow. In the title-role, Peter Auty could hardly be more fervent but seldom comes close to effacing memories of the peerless Heddle Nash on Sargent's legendary 1945 HMV recording. Sensitively though Michelle Breedt sings, I don't find her quite as distinctive or affecting as either Alice Coote (with Elder and the Halle) or Lilli Paasikivi (Ashkenazy/Sydney SO), to say nothing of Gladys Ripley (Sargent), Yvonne Minton (Britten's 1972 Decca recording) or Janet Baker (Barbirolli). …

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