Elgar: The Dream of Gerontius

Our rating 
4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

WORKS: The Dream of Gerontius
PERFORMER: Alfreda Hodgson (contralto), Robert Tear (tenor), Benjamin Luxon (baritone)Scottish National Orchestra & Chorus/Alexander Gibson
CATALOGUE NO: 33267 ADD (1976)
Starting with a Part 1 that is clearly textured and dramatically paced, but without any special intensity of insight, this twenty-year-old Gerontius subsequently becomes an interpretation of real presence and originality. It is to be cherished for perpetuating the late Alfreda Hodgson’s marvellous Angel – singing of heartbreaking loveliness, infinitely subtle in colour and detail. Much of the incandescence of Part 2 is due to her, but also to the powerfully dramatic choral singing, differentiating superbly between devils and angelicals, and to Alexander Gibson’s taut control of the narrative structure. Tear and Luxon also make strong contributions, and there is fine orchestral playing outstandingly recorded. Anthony Payne