Considered by many the greatest oratorio by an Englishman as well as the most beautiful oratorio of the 20th century, The Dream of Gerontius sets to music a mystical poem by the Catholic theologian and Cardinal John Henry Newman about death and final judgment.
In its first part, a dying man experiences his very last moments; later, the soul of the departed, aided by his guardian angel, prepares for that great moment, both inspiring and horrifying, when he will come into the presence of God to be judged. Elgar’s music is large in scale and inspired by Wagner, but is completely in his own voice. It has deeply inspired listeners since its debut in 1900. (Concert photo by Dave Jamrog)