Elgar The Dream of Gerontius

Colston Hall, 9 June 2007

In this year of the 150th anniversary of the birth of Elgar, City of Bristol Choir and Exultate Singers under the enthusiastic leadership of David Ogden are presenting the three major choral works.

It was the turn of the greatest, Dream of Gerontius, on Saturday with excellent support from the CBSO, the opening Prelude showed the intensity and feeling of the whole work.

There was conviction in Paul Charles Clarke’s singing in the title role with a strong secure voice contrasting the appropriate sadness in Sanctus Fortis with terrified power in Take me away.

Juliette Pochin, radiant in all white, was suitably angelic in the role of the Angel and some superb singing capped a fine overall performance in her natural and communicative way. Her flexible and appealing tone was always a pleasure to hear.

Martin Le Poidevin as the Priest and Angel of the Agony had all the authority for the first role, and subtle expression for the second.

The chorus was superb throughout and Praise to the holiest was particularly awe-inspiring.

David Ogden held all the forces together with considerable skill and the marvellous reception at the conclusion was well-deserved.

Elgar’s words on the original score “This is the best of me” were certainly true here at the Colston Hall.