Elgar The Dream of Gerontius
Alice Coote mezzo-soprano
Robert Murray tenor
Matthew Rose bass
Edward Gardner conductor
Lush orchestration, massed forces and profound subject matter: The Dream of Gerontius is an overwhelming musical experience. This is the kind of music that Brighton Festival Chorus was created to perform, and that is woven into the identity of the renowned CBSO, whose very first performance in 1920 was conducted by Elgar.
Cardinal Newman's poem tells of the journey of a man's soul after death - 'Gerontius' may be translated roughly as 'old man'. Elgar was given a copy of the poem in 1889 as a wedding present. But while he undoubtedly toyed with the idea of setting it to music intermittently over the intervening period, the decision to do so for the 1900 Birmingham festival appears to have been taken somewhat at the last minute.
A truly stellar cast, led by the eminent British conductor Edward Gardner, luxuriates in music of rare power and eloquence that traces the vision of the journey of a pious man’s soul from his deathbed to his judgement before God.