Dream of Gerontius

Chester Cathedral, Chester, Chester, Cheshire, CH1 2DY

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Performing Elgar’s Dream of Gerontius is a special event for any singer.

It demands a large choir and large orchestra, so the chance to join with Cantiones Choir, Oswestry and Chester Philharmonic Orchestra to bring this vivid and compelling piece to life was one to seize on for Chester Bach Singers. The inspiring surroundings of Chester Cathedral, together with three top professional soloists under the baton of Martin Bussey will make the performance on March 2nd 2024 an unmissable musical event in the city. The work is characterised throughout by Elgar’s gift for memorable melodies, by vivid orchestral colour and by a sense of drive and passion.

The poem at the heart of the work is a complex piece of writing by a leading theologian of the nineteenth century, John Henry Newman, Cardinal Newman as he became. Elgar received a copy of the poem on which the work is based as a wedding gift. Its complex subject matter takes some getting used to at first sight in the early twenty-first century.

Gerontius, sung by the tenor soloist, Joshua Ellicott, prepares for death and the journey he must make through purgatory ahead of hopefully being received into heaven. He is supported by the prayers of his friends on earth and by the Priest, the bass soloist James Platt, as he starts his journey. In the second half, his soul is supported by the Angel, sung by the mezzo soprano Kathryn Rudge. He hears demons mocking his belief but also the angelic choir which provides the climax of the work, ‘Praise to the Holiest in the height’, before the Angel bids him farewell on the rest of his journey.

 

Gerontius is a work which challenges soloists, choir and orchestra alike, but one which fixes the attention of an audience with an intensity which few other similar pieces achieve. The chance to hear it is not to be missed.

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Tel: 01244 324 756

Tel: 01244 324 756

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