S0698. LONDON STRING QUARTET: Deep River; Home on the Range; Turkey in the Straw; Songs by Stephen Foster, recorded 1945-46; w.GERVASE ELWES (T) & Frederick Kiddle (Pf.): ON WENLOCK EDGE (Vaughan Williams), recorded 1917. [The Quartet's renditions of American Songs and the Stephen Foster program are as delightful as they are unique!] (Canada) St Laurent Studio YSL 78-381. Transfers by Yves St Laurent.
gThe London String Quartet was one of the most important international groups of its time. Numerous premieres, Beethoven cycles, widespread concertising, and eminent recordings marked out its trajectory. The 'live' Library of Congress recordings demonstrate its most vital, sensitive and convincing musicianship in ways that even its studio discs occasionally fail to show. They provide irrefutable evidence that the quartet was one of the very greatest of its time.
For young ears, the rise of the London String Quartet (with the incomparable James Levey as leader, and the enduring partnership of Thomas Petre, H. Waldo Warner and C. Warwick Evans participating) dimmed the Flonzaley star even as it was waning. A more vibrant enthusiasm, a stronger sense of tonal colours, a refinement that was not raffiné, gave them pre-eminence as long as this personnel endured.h
- Irving Kolodin, THE MUSICAL LIFE, P.63
"A legendary artist, whose name is revered by many people to a degree that takes it far beyond the realm of mere music. This was the man who was to become the inspiration of composers as diverse as Percy Grainger and Roger Quilter, who introduced Vaughan Williams' ON WENLOCK EDGE [it was as singer of English art-song, and the friend of many leading English composers, that Elwes left his most permanent legacy. He was the dedicatée and first performer of (and the first person to record) Ralph Vaughan Williams cycle ON WENLOCK EDGE and many of the finest songs of Roger Quilter (including the cycle TO JULIA), both of whom wrote with his voice in mind. In 1912 he gave the first performance of Thomas Dunhill's song-cycle THE WIND AMONG THE REEDS for the Philharmonic Society. He had the wholehearted admiration of every generation from Charles Villiers Stanford to Frank Bridge, and their successors still acknowledge the authority of his influence. He was also a wonderful inspiration to leading British singers of his time, as their many private and published memorials testify], and who between 1904 and 1920 was to sing Sir Edward Elgar's DREAM OF GERONTIUS on 118 occasions."
- Roger Wimbush, GRAMOPHONE, Jan., 1968
"I know several people who would sell their whole collections rather than part with the dozen or so records of Gervase Elwes."
- GRAMOPHONE, 1925
gEach of these disks, from Canadian engineer Yves St Laurentc [feature] St Laurent's natural transfer – made without filtering, like all his dubbings – it is easy to listen to, despite the surface noise.h
- Tully Potter, CLASSICAL RECORD QUARTERLY, Summer, 2011