The 2017 Ryedale Festival concludes this coming Saturday with a great tailpiece, Elgar’s Dream of Gerontius, performed in the magnificent surroundings of York Minster.
Gerontius is a dying man, an ‘everyman’ character who commends his soul to God and prays with his friends for a safe passage into the next life. Elgar’s choral masterpiece follows his journey through death, where he meets the guardian angel who guides him past his demons and a brief moment facing the Almighty before leaving him among all the souls in Purgatory to await final salvation. ‘This is the best of me’, wrote Elgar at the end of a score that is full of deep passion, blazing virtuosity, momentous climaxes and a profound sense of mystery. Heard in the splendour of York Minster, with Sir Mark Elder conducting the Hallé and an outstanding team of soloists, this will surely be an unforgettable performance.
‘Rarely comes a performance of his most celebrated oratorio as beautiful and powerful as this one. I feel I shall never forget the glory of what I heard… What an experience! When Gerontius came to the pearly gates and the orchestra explodes in a lightning orgasm of ecstatic pain, I closed my eyes and wondered if I might have gone to meet my Maker’ – The Daily Telegraph
‘Elder’s is, by a mile, the best-sounding Gerontius we have had, handsome in its depth and breadth with great spatial perspectives and a wonderful sense of how the score is layered’ – Gramophone.
Saturday November 4, 7.30 pm, York Minster; some tickets still available from the Ryedale Festival website.