17 May 2014

Elgar. The Dream of Gerontius - Malcolm Sargent - HMV 1945

Sir Edward Elgar:  "The Dream of Gerontius", op.38    
Gerontius............... Heddle Nash, Tenor   
Angel......................... Gladys Ripley, Contralto
The Priest......................... Dennis Noble, Baritone
Angel of the Agony.................... Norman Walker, Bass
Huddersfield Choral Society  ~ Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra  conducted by  Malcolm Sargent 
2 files + 300dpi Booklet scan zip FLAC   Mega Download
HMV  RLS 709  2LP set, 1975.  Matrices:  HLM7047 A/B -1G/1G / HLM7048 A/B -1G/1G   
Recorded: 8-12 April 1945 - Huddersfield Town Hall   (HMV C.3435-3446 / 2ER 834-857)  Transfer by Bryan Crimp.
Lots of minor editing required - some slight treble enhancement applied.  The Best transfer available!!   


  1. Thank you for posting this recording. It's one I've wanted to hear for many years and never come across a copy. I've had time to listen only to portions, but the sound is terrific. Thank you again.
    Philip in Canada

    1. Hello Philip.
      That's a 'me too' - as only previously heard 'bits' - and this wasn't previously uploaded as the 'Gramophone' wording of the Testament CD review gave me the impression that the mastering, there, was a) new / b) from 'the masters' - and Crimp's gives the impression of some 'shellac' background; but I may be wrong...and he did tend to 'filter' more than I like - hence the slight treble 'lift' I've applied - as wanted the sound to 'come alive' more than a flat setting would offer.

      I'd also tended to 'write off' part 2 - but this version carries it right through to the end with fervour.

      I think Boult's BBC SO 78 of the Prelude is superb - so may add it + the LP 'Hereford' live parts - though think they are more fully represented on CD..but it's 40 years since I bought that 'Images of Elgar' box-set..

  2. The Testament is quite horrible, actually. As good as their LP era things can be, their track record on 78 material isn't so hot (a very poor sounding Solomon Chopin cd comes to mind). I don't know what went wrong, but it SOUNDS like they took this RLS transfer and subjected it to some ill-advised processing. Very dull on top (no top end really), awful phasing of what is left of the top, and overall an underwater, synthetic sound. I went running for MY copy of this lp when I heard it, because I remembered it as sounding well balanced and not overly noisy, just a bit rustly. I was thinking of transferring my copy, so thanks for saving me the trouble, and reminding me of this wonderful version!

    1. Apparently Mr Pristine's is 'even worse'!!!!

      This really is a wonderful account (and Elgar's Choral works aren't those that I'd be drawn-to - despite having them 'all' as they seemed to get 'bogged-down' - and give the impression of 'hack-work' (gasp!)) - but have listened to this about 3 times.

      Re: the Solomon/Chopin: have been intending uploading that (together with the Brahms) from the HMV Box (RLS 701 - the others uploaded hereabouts)- but never seem to 'get around to it' (and am not enthralled by the Chopin that I've sampled)

    2. I was desperate to hear this version of the DofG. I had come by Mr. Pristine's version and it was GREAT compared to the Testament. Until I heard this. THANK YOU THANK YOU.... For me this is THE version of Gerontius and I have heard many. Barbirolli's LP's were delivered at home in the form of a present for my mother who befriended him at a dinner party. So I've been exposed to the work since I was a young teen. BTW, that Solomon Chopin would be such a great upload. Urge you to please dwell on it.

    3. Yes - I noticed your comments on Symphonyshare.

      Aside from some 'less than HiFi' choral parts (the 1975 EMG review described the whole recording as 'Primitive') I think this is pretty OK given the date - and it's easy to get 'involved' with this recording in my 'new improved remastering' ;~)).

      ...but it's bizarre that the MusicWeb reviewer/s (and Gramophone) think the Testament is OK: fortunately I'm quite innocent of 'the competition' !!

      The Solomon/Chopin, etc is another Bryan Crimp set: but I do have some on 78's (ie the Brahms: Handel Var + some Chopin) and know 'thanks to the 'net' that there is some problem with the CD issue: so, again, maybe some Twit has been (further) messing-around with some existing Crimp transfers??

  3. I confess that I have never "gotten" this piece. Every year or two I listen to a different performance but I still don't appreciate why so many feel this is a masterpiece. With this in mind, thank you for chance to hear yet another version.

  4. Thanks, Tin Ear! I have a number of records from this "Dream" with Sargent on HMV, but not complete, so I'm very glad!

  5. I guess that's the problem with 'recorded music'; some compositions simply don't make an impact in the home; but the sheer intensity of this is different (several sections got an 'emotional response' [residual Religious schooling?] from me: which takes some doing: so probably not just some Crafty 'Tear-Jerking' Modulations!) - and which could well seem overwhelming in the right setting.

    The Religious element does come into play - as, at the EMI presentation of 'The Apostles', 40years ago; in a London Church, by Christopher Bishop - a couple of old guys in front of me were in near ecstacy (actually, the sound-quality was 'real' - using a copy tape and BBC LS5/1A speakers)...

    My Constant Lambert set of "Dido & Aeneas" is still complete!

  6. This is yet another splendid edition from you! The sound is very good. Your transfer and treble enhancement has obviously worked well.

    DoG is an effective performance piece with a strong quota of emotion and drama. The choral singing is captured here is great . I still think that Ripley and Nash are absolutely wonderful and the other two soloists quite good . I suppose it may be sacrilegious but I listened to Quirk singing the baritone solos and enjoyed them more. Of course in that Britten conducted performance the..to me .".difficult" sound of Pears as Gerontius is too much contend with.

  7. Britten's is the one LP edition I don't have - but can 'imagine' what Pears sounds like at that stage!

    The treble 'lift' is only used to bring some extension to the voices - which are otherwise too dark/chesty/indistinct and dull 'the emotion'.

    I suppose it's my personal taste - but Crimp severely limited the treble in such transfers (though this perhaps wasn't originally an 'ERR' recording with extended-range) and similar problems affect 'The Rape of Lucretia' LP (on MfP) and most of the Sadlers' Wells box-set (which included some unpublished Pears/'Peter Grimes') - which is why I thought the Testament CD's would be better - so it's ironic they aren't - despite the claims in Gramophone's review - and on Mr Pristine's site, from James Jolly!

    The 'Pearl' CD issue could be interesting but would likely be pretty noisy/grungy..

    Ironically the pressings here were near flawlessly quiet after a wet-clean (they'd been 'damp-cloth' treated by the previous owner) - but, as usual, quite some time was devoted to removing most of the obvious 'clicks' left behind - even though Crimp had been pretty heavy-handed in subduing them..

  8. Never heard this work before, but even then it was obvious this performance is superior, and possibly unbeatable. Truly wonderful - thank you for the superb transfer!

    1. PS: Many thanks also for the scan of the booklet.

  9. Have just re-downloaded this as I just discovered it was missing from my sound library following the last computer crash of six months ago:previous download must have occurred between back-ups! Very enjoyable, just as I'd found it before. Thanks! Excellent transfer. Good old Sir Malcolm! Great stuff.