An Oratorio by Edward Elgar
Part 1 at 8.0 ; Part 2 at 8.55
The Three Choirs Festival from Gloucester Cathedral
Astra Desmond (contralto)
Heddle Nash (tenor)
Harold Williams (bass)
Chorus supplied from Gloucester, Hereford, and Worcester Cathedrals
The London Symphony Orchestra
Leader, W. H. Reed
Conducted by Herbert W. Sumsion
Elgar's first success as a composer owed much to the influence of two great German musicians — Hans Richter and Richard Strauss. The former was responsible for introducing to the British public the ' Enigma ' variations and The Dream of Gerontius at Manchester, where he conducted the Halle Orchestra. The Dream of Gerontius was first performed at the Birmingham Festival on October 3, 1900, but unfortunately the work did hot make a good impression. It has been suggested that the chorus was tired and had been overworked that year, and that, although Richter believed in the music, he did not really understand its true spirit.
Be this as it may, it was not until
Gerontius was . given in 1902 at Dusseldorf, when Richard Strauss made his famous speech concerning the genius of his British contempojrary, that it was proclaimed as a masterpiece and fresh interest in the work was created in Britain. Later on in the same year, Gerontius was revived at the Worcester Festival with Elgar conducting and John Coates for the first time in the title role. The success of this performance reSulted in further performances at Sheffield and various other festivals.
A reminiscent article on the Three Choirs Festival, by 7. H. Elliot , will be found on page 11.