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Vaughan Williams on Music$
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David Manning

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780195182392

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195182392.001.0001

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Gervase Elwes

Gervase Elwes

(p.57) Chapter 9 Gervase Elwes
Vaughan Williams on Music

David Manning

Oxford University Press

Gervase Elwes' nature was that of the “perfect gentle knight,” and it was these qualities in him which were at once the strength and the limitations of his art. He had not the wide gamut of musical expression at his command, and it is due to the very fineness of his nature that this was so. The strength of his art lay in his power of making the candor and uprightness of his character an actual part of his singing. In Gerontius, for example, he could not harp on the aspects of bodily agony and mental prostration, which have tempted other singers differently gifted. It was the personal quality that told in the actual quality of his singing voice. It was Elwes' own voice; it had a beauty which was more precious than that of vocal sound, and a golden tone that could only come from a golden heart.

Keywords:   Gervase Elwes, nature, art, musical expression, Gerontius, personal quality, voice

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