As ever, I was determined to allow a performance its full potential as pure music, rather than my attempting to give an interpretation as to what a composer may have intended as a ‘programme’ in human ‘story’, whether religious or spiritual. Spiritual, not religious, was a better word indeed, as what I have long considered to be Elgar’s greatest work — finally confirmed last night at Snape as just that. How can I assign praise more important than that to the performance of all concerned? The sinuous lamentation curve of sound that, for me, I have always discovered to a greater or lesser degree in Dream of Gerontius came to an optimum power last night in front of the Maltings wall of raw brick that has absorbed such sounds over the years. And given it back to us as a gestalt last night? A blend of more familiar Elgar, Wagner, Richard Strauss, Havergal Brian, and even some modern composers such as Per Norgard. A unique blend of cosmic Elgar.
A heartfelt review from a listener, not a musician.
My previous reviews of local classical concerts, including the War Requiem performed by the University of Essex Choir at Snape a few years ago: https://dflewisreviews.wordpress.com/des-lewiss-classical-music-reviews/
“And it is not by any concitation
Of the backward devils”
— TS Eliot (Gerontion)