C0817. THE DREAM OF GERONTIUS – Excerpts (Complete, as recorded) (Elgar), w.Joseph Batten Cond. Royal S.O.; Edith Furmedge, Dan Jones & David Brazell. (England) Palaeophonics 100, recorded 17 Feb., 1917, Edison Bell. Excellently transferred from the legendary 78rpm rarities.
“Until 1920 [the Edison Bell Company) had been one of the foremost manufacturers of popular records….Now came a change of policy: it was decided to compete with the two ‘big fellows’, as HMV and Columbia were known….To me was assigned the onus of building a catalogue of good music….the recording on which I look back with the greatest pride was that of THE DREAM OF GERONTIUS. This oratorio had always deeply stirred me, but had it not been for a conversation with Charles Draper, the finest clarinetist of his day, and a friend of Elgar’s, I doubt if I would have braved the technical problems such a project involved….to record such music would be a labour of love, an act of homage to a great composer. And apart from the aesthetic motives, another voice whispered to me that if it could be done, what a feather it would be in my cap…to accomplish a recording which [HMV and Columbia] had declared to be impossible….it opened the way to my appointment with Columbia a few years after.”
- Joe Batten, JOE BATTEN’S BOOK, pp.56-59