Yes, I have that gem recording with the Collector's Edition of Elgar's works on EMI:
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I even have the beloved mezzo's 5 CD box set on the now Warner Classics. It also contains the Finale of the Dream of Gerontius :
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I also have that 30 CD set, of all the Elgar recordings EMI made. Our collections seem to have a lot in common.
There are some real gems in there. Take CD 26 and that beautiful recording of the three Marian anthems from Worcester Cathedral. That disc 26 is actually one of the real highlights. Of course the set contains, Jaqueline Dupres definitive reading of the Elgar cello concert0 under "Glorious John". That is one in a series of usually misunderstood works. It was written right after WW 1. It is another of that large body of works of many composers deeply affected by the horrors and effects of WW1. The work oozes with nostalgia, regret and the lament of the passing of the Edwardian age. Of all the cello concertos this is the finest. It is I think his most performed work in the concert hall, partly due to the fact that cellist to not have a huge range of options. Unfortunately many, if not most, cellists miss the point.
Although Elgar lived another 20 years or so, he largely wrote himself with that concerto. This was probably because he was so deeply affected by the cataclysm of WW1 and the total transformation of society in its wake.
That set is packed with wonderful music, although I think Caractacus King of the Briton's is a little wide of the mark!
This is a good time to point out that this year is the 150th anniversary of Ralph Vaughn Williams. A great and under appreciated composer.
He in the early days felt he needed further instruction. He asked Elgar, a superb orchestrator for help. Elgar refused, I think because he thought he was not the correct individual, as he had no formal education in music, and was entirely self taught. So he turned to Morris Ravel, and never looked back. Maurice Ravel said of him that he was the only one of his students that did not try to write his music.
I think Vaugh Williams is misunderstood, and that is partly because, for some reason he laid traps for the unwary. The best example is his Pastoral Symphony, No.3.
This is what VW said. "I have written this symphony in four movements, all of them slow ones. I wrote it laying on my back on the South Downs, on a sunny afternoon, watching the clouds pass." It is these remarks that have led Germans to totally misunderstand, and caused them to refer to this symphony in particular, as English "Cow Pat Music." Of course this symphony written after WW1 is full of suppressed rage, with hints a plenty, such as the twisted and contorted bugle calls. It is also a touching and moving elegy for the dead. VW left it to the listener to work it out.
VW seems to be in danger of being remembered as a one work composer. His work, "The Lark Ascending" is the most played work on Classical radio stations and the most requested. The problem is that most performers, and certainly listeners have no idea what it was about.
It was written at the start of WW 1. VW was sitting on the cliffs of Dover overlooking the port as the troops were embarking on ships to take them to France. In fact as he was making notes, the authorities arrested him, mistaking him for German spy. So it is widely assumed the work is just about a Lark soaring high and higher on a sunny afternoon. In fact the work is an allegory for these young men sailing off into the unknown to face the horrors of war. The problem is that most of the performers, just think it is a "pretty piece" and miss the whole point, and miss the brooding uncertain intent it is intending to convey.
Vaughn Williams signed on as an Ambulance driver and saw the horrors first hand. Interestingly Maurice Ravel also spent WW1 as an ambulance driver.
Beethoven's Missa Solemnis has suffered a similar fate. This work was commissioned by the Catholics in Dresden. This work gave Beethoven a lot of trouble and he turned it in 12 years late! Most conductors miss the conflict in the work, even though Haydn's Mass in Time of War is alluded to at the outset. People even miss the most dramatic conflict towards the end. In the Dona Nobis Pacem the sublime melody is suddenly interrupted as the drums and trumpets of war sound, with force. This is Beethoven at his most cynical.