Saturday, 1 November 2008
Land of Hope and Glory, sung by my mother's favourite singer, Kathleen Ferrier
This was the note posted on YouTube with this recording (which has the characteristic scratching sound made by slightly damaged records)
"In 1951 KF was diagnosed with the illness which in October 1953 caused her early death. In November 1951 the Free Trade Hall in Manchester was packed for a Gala Reopening Concert (in the presence of the Queen - later the Queen Mother) following bomb damage in World War II. KF was recovering from her surgery, and subsequent treatments. Sir John Barbirolli asked if she was strong enough to sing the Final Piece. It had never been in her repertoire as she associated it with big contraltos with very big voices from earlier in the century. She readily agreed to Sir John's request and what we hear is her only rendition of Land of Hope and Glory by Elgar. She sings it in the unmistakeable Ferrier tradition, permitting the choir and audience to sing the patriotic overtones.
The music critic of the Manchester Guardian ended his critique thus "It was fine and it was right, but lovers of the tune will fear that never again can they hope to hear it in such glory".