"Ensemble 415 is a chamber ensemble devoted largely to the performance of Baroque music on period instruments. The numerical reference in the group's name derives from the pitch used for tuning instruments in the Baroque era. In performing chamber music, Ensemble 415 consists of just a few players, but for larger compositions, the number expands to a minimum of 13 and can reach up to as high as 40 performers. The ensemble's repertory has been broad over the years, taking in many Baroque standards by J.S. Bach, Vivaldi, and Handel, as well as lesser known fare by Muffat and others…"
Perhaps part of what sets this recording apart from its competitors is Barbirolli's overall conception of the work: the liner notes point out that he always called the work Elgar's "*Dream,*" and not "Gerontius." This seemingly simple change results in a completely different outlook on the work. In emphasizing the dream-like quality of the work, Barbirolli is at once more daring and more orthodox than his competitors, allowing the quirkiness of Elgar's orchestration and choral writing to burst out time and time again, here cellos coming to the fore, there a clarinet emerging in sudden duet with one of the soloists. Barbirolli is doing nothing more than giving us what's on the page, but what a difference this makes!
Die Komponistengeneration Österreichs, der Horst Ebenhöh angehört, deckt - wie es ähnlich wohl auch früher gewesen war - stilistisch und kompositionstechnisch das ganze zur Zeit erfassbare Spektrum des vom Menschen Denk- und Hörbaren ab und ist unendlich weit gestreut.
Blickt man auf die zweite Hälfte des 20. Jahrhunderts zurück, erkennt man, dass sich einerseits in der jeweils kontemporären Musik vieles im Sinne der Avantgarde verändert hat, andererseits, dass vieles im Sinne der Tradition fast unverändert erhalten geblieben ist.
…And, in fact, Elias has rarely been performed with greater respect for the original than it is here under the conductor Christoph Spering, who has recorded this “sacred opera” with his New Orchestra and the Chorus Musicus Köln in Essen’s Philharmonic Hall with the composer’s “dramatic ideal” fully in mind and heart. (…) The result was in fact an oratorio in opera form and a wealth of dramaturgical elements that absolutely enthralled the public. Fresh Interpretation Just as the composer would have wanted it, Christoph Spering has selected a full chorus and a magnificently dimensioned orchestra for this recording. The New Orchestra performs on historical instruments and in the two years since its founding has gained renown as an outstanding interpreter of the music of the romantic era. (…) Brisk tempos, sharp delineation, powerful expression, and interpretive freshness are the hallmarks of this new discovery for the MDG Live label.