The Bach Choir: The Dream of Gerontius

Saturday 11 May

The Bach Choir and the Philharmonia Orchestra join forces for Elgar’s powerful choral masterpiece, which explores a soul’s journey through death to the afterlife.


Cardinal Newman’s poem ‘The Dream of Gerontius’ tells the story of the end of an old man’s life and his soul’s subsequent journey towards God.

The poem was a well-known and much-loved work in its own right by the time Elgar came to set it to music in 1900. From it, he created his greatest choral work – if not the greatest by any English composer.

Writing for two choirs, soloists, orchestra and organ, Elgar composed music that seemed to come from the depths of his own soul.

Acclaimed tenor Daniel Norman sings the moving title role, and Jennifer Johnston is the Angel who supports him on his journey.

To open the evening, The Bach Choir has commissioned a new piece from Roderick Williams OBE. It acts as a prelude to Elgar’s work, considering what it is to wait alongside someone in their final moments.

Williams is one of the country’s best-loved singers, chosen by King Charles III to perform at the Coronation. His compositions have been premiered at the Southbank Centre, the Wigmore and Barbican Halls, and on national radio. He frequently appears with The Bach Choir as a soloist, making him well-placed to get the best out of this 200-strong ensemble.

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