'The Angel's Farewell' JANET BAKER * 'The Dream of Gerontius' / Elgar * 1964





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Published on Feb 3, 2010

Legendary British mezzo-soprano Dame Janet Baker (b. 1933) sings 'The Angel's Farewell' from Edward Elgar's 'The Dream of Gerontius' (with text by Catholic Cardinal John Henry Newman). SEE BELOW FOR LYRICS.

An anecdote involving this particular piece, about the strong bond between conductor Sir John Barbirolli and Dame Janet Baker:

'[...] Dame Janet was not immune to this [ i.e., the painful areas of human experience - mariandelochs ]; when Barbirolli died in 1971 he was a conductor so strongly associated with her in the first part of her career - there was a memorial service at Manchester Cathedral, at which the Angels Farewell from Gerontius was featured. The Hallé played the introduction, Dame Janet sang a couple of phrases, and then the emotion overcame her. She was unable to continue, and sat down while the orchestra played on to the end. She was a truly great artist, who gave everything she had to her public [...].'

(Gwyn Parry-Jones §§§)

§§§ Excerpt taken from this page:

Sir John Barbirolli
Hallé Orchestra
Hallé Choir & Sheffield Philharmonic Chorus
Ambrosian Singers

Recorded 1964


Softly and gently, dearly-ransomed soul,
In my most loving arms I now enfold thee,
And o'er the penal waters, as they roll,
I poise thee, and I lower thee, and hold thee.
And carefully I dip thee in the lake,
And thou, without a sob or a resistance,
Dost through the flood thy rapid passage take,
Sinking deep, deeper, into the dim distance.
Angels to whom the willing task is given,
Shall tend, and nurse, and lull thee, as liest;
And Masses on the earth, and prayers in heaven,
Shall aid thee at the Throne of the Most Highest.
Farewell, but not for ever! brother dear,
Be brave and patient on thy bed of sorrow;
Swiftly shall pass thy night of trial here,
And I will come and wake thee on the morrow.
Farewell! Farewell!

Lord, Thou hast been our refuge: in every generation;
Before the hills were born, and the world
was, from age to age Thou art God.
Bring us not, Lord, very low: for Thou hast
said, Come back again, O Lord! how long:
and be entreated for Thy servants.


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  • Music

    • "The Dream of Gerontius, Op.38 (1989 Remastered Version): The Angel's Farewell (Softly and gently)" by Sir John Barbirolli/Dame Janet Baker Listen ad-free with YouTube Red


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