Elgar - The Dream of Gerontius (cond. Jaap van Zweden)

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Elgar: The Dream of Gerontius - Jaap van Zweden - Live Classical Music

Enjoy this wonderful performance of Edward Elgar's 'The Dream of Gerontius' by the Radio Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Jaap van Zweden. Recorded on 27th May 2011 in Vredenburg, Utrecht.

Jaap van Zweden - conductor
Celso Antunes - choir conductor
Radio Philharmonic Orchestra
Groot Omroepkoor - choir
Anna Stéphany - mezzosoprano
Andrew Staples - tenor
Eric Owens - bass
Nederlands Kamerkoor - choir
stagekoor GOK - choir


Sir Edward William Elgar, 1st Baronet OM GCVO (2 June 1857 – 23 February 1934) was an English composer, many of whose works have entered the British and international classical concert repertoire. Among his best-known compositions are orchestral works including the Enigma Variations, the Pomp and Circumstance Marches, concertos for violin and cello, and two symphonies. He also composed choral works, including The Dream of Gerontius, chamber music and songs. He was appointed Master of the King's Musick in 1924.

The Dream of Gerontius, Op. 38, is a work for voices and orchestra in two parts composed by Sir Edward Elgar in 1900, to text from the poem by John Henry Newman. It relates the journey of a pious man's soul from his deathbed to his judgment before God and settling into Purgatory. Elgar disapproved of the use of the term "oratorio" for the work, though his wishes are not always followed. The piece is widely regarded as Elgar's finest choral work, and some consider it his masterpiece.

The work was composed for the Birmingham Music Festival of 1900; the first performance took place on 3 October 1900, in Birmingham Town Hall. It was badly performed at the premiere, but later performances in Germany revealed its stature. In the first decade after its premiere, the Roman Catholic dogma in Newman's poem caused difficulties in getting the work performed in Anglican cathedrals, and a revised text was used for performances at the Three Choirs Festival until 1910.

Each of the two parts is divided into distinct sections, but differs from the traditional oratorio in that the music continues without significant breaks. Elgar did not call the work an oratorio, and disapproved when other people used the term for it. Part I is approximately 35 minutes long and Part II is approximately 60 minutes.

Part I:
Jesu, Maria – I am near to death
Rouse thee, my fainting soul
Sanctus fortis, sanctus Deus
Proficiscere, anima Christiana

Part II:
I went to sleep
It is a member of that family
But hark! upon my sense comes a fierce hubbub
I see not those false spirits
But hark! a grand mysterious harmony
Thy judgment now is near
I go before my judge
Softly and gently, dearly-ransomed soul
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Artist: Elgar
Video title: The Dream of Gerontius (cond. Jaap van Zweden)

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Category: Classical
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