The Dream of Gerontius

The Dream of Gerontius

Harrow's Choral Society stages an annual performance of a major musical work in Speech Room each March. Over 100 boys are joined by members of staff, parents, a professional orchestra and soloists, as well as girls from Francis Holland School.

This year's Choral Society Concert will take place at 7.30pm on Thursday 26 March. The Society will perform Elgar's The Dream of Gerontius. 

In 1889, Elgar was given a copy of Cardinal Newman's poem, The Dream of Gerontius, as a wedding present. His decision to set it to music for the 1900 Birmingham festival appears to have been somewhat last minute and the first performance was not a success. Neither the chorus master nor Hans Richter, the conductor, had grasped the complexity of the work, and had allowed insufficient time for rehearsals. More perceptive members of the audience, however, recognised the work's merit. These included Julius Buths, director of the Lower Rhine Festival, who staged the work in Dusseldorf in 1901. This performance, to a packed audience of 2,500, was an unqualified success and was followed in March 1903 by further acclaimed performances on successive nights - the first by the Halle Orchestra, under Richter in Manchester, and the second in Hanley, with Elgar himself conducting. Today, the work is undoubtedly the most popular of all Elgar's choral works. 


Rehearsals for the concerts take place from 8 January 2019, on Tuesday evenings from 7.15pm to 8.15pm in Speech Room. Anyone is welcome to sing with us, and music will be available for sale or loan at the first rehearsal.  

To book tickets for the audience (£8) or for more information, please contact the Music Schools Administrator, Hilary Singleton, on or 020 8872 8231.