John Barbirolli / Adrian Boult

Elgar: The Dream of Gerontius; The Music Makers

  • AllMusic Rating
    10
  • User Ratings (0)
  • Your Rating

AllMusic Review by

In 2007, EMI finally resolved the decades-old debate among collectors as to which is the better recording of Elgar's oratorio The Dream of Gerontius -- John Barbirolli's with the Hallé Orchestra from 1964 or Adrian Boult's with the New Philharmonia from 1975. It did this by releasing Barbirolli's Gerontius coupled with Boult's 1966 recording of Elgar's The Music Makers, which had previously been released coupled with Boult's own Gerontius. The debate had been fierce on both sides of the issue, particularly because both sides admitted both recordings were superlative. Barbirolli's party praised his ardent sentimentality, his sweeping drama, and the sheer choral-orchestral splendor of the Hallé Orchestra and Chorus, as well as his great good luck in having Janet Baker as a magnificently moving Angel of Death. Boult's party acclaimed his stern spirituality, his commanding structures, and the radiant colors and luminous textures of the New Philharmonia Orchestra and Chorus in addition to a tremendous cast of soloists in Nicolai Gedda, Helen Watts, and Robert Lloyd. By attaching Boult's masterful recording of The Music Makers with the London Philharmonic Orchestra & Chorus and, once again, Baker as the soloist, EMI has essentially split the difference. For longtime fans of The Dream of Gerontius, this coupling is wholly superfluous since they will already have both these recordings plus Benjamin Britten's, Richard Hickox's, and Colin Davis', along with either or both of Sargent's recordings. For those who don't already know the work, this coupling is a fine place to start -- and if they come to love the work, there are always the recordings of Britten, Boult, Hickox, Davis, and Sargent to investigate. EMI's '60s stereo sound is rich, warm, deep, and detailed.

Track Listing - Disc 1

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
The Music Makers, ode for alto, chorus, organ & orchestra, Op. 69
1 03:31 Amazon
2 01:57 Amazon
3 01:41 Amazon
4 03:58 Amazon
5 04:00 Amazon
6 03:21 Amazon
7 04:27
8 03:30 Amazon
9 02:38 Amazon
10 08:58 Amazon
The Dream of Gerontius, oratorio for soloists, chorus & orchestra, Op. 38
11 10:12 Amazon
12 03:59 Amazon
13 02:19 Amazon
14 01:00
15 03:20 Amazon
16 05:28 Amazon
17 02:08 Amazon
18 02:11 Amazon
19 01:30 Amazon
20 01:55 Amazon
21 04:43 Amazon

Track Listing - Disc 2

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
The Dream of Gerontius, oratorio for soloists, chorus & orchestra, Op. 38
1 01:56
2 04:09
3 02:29
4 04:19
5 01:55
6 01:34
7 01:24
8 02:17
9 03:32
10 03:19
11 02:19
12 08:06
13 03:16
14 04:11
15 01:33
16 04:56
17 01:07
18 06:59
blue highlight denotes track pick