Cardinal Newman's poem The Dream of Gerontius was well known to Edward Elgar, indeed, he received an annotated copy of it as a wedding present in 1889. When, a decade later, he was commissioned to write an oratorio for the Birmingham Triennial Music Festival, he eventually settled on this text and proceeded to compose a work that was to establish his reputation.
At the end of the manuscript score, Elgar wrote this quotation from John Ruskin's Sesame and Lilies:
This is the best of me; for the rest, I ate, and drank, and slept, loved and hated, like another: my life was as the vapour and is not; but this I saw and knew; this, if anything of mine, is worth your memory.
Tickets: £13.50 available from:
Buxton Opera House Box Office: 0845 127 2190 or 01298 72190 or book online: buxtonoperahouse.org.uk
Tickets are also available in advance from Society members (50p discount) and on the door before each concert in St John’s Church (limited availability)