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Elgar’s The Dream of Gerontius: A Story in Five Places

Dr Joanna Bullivant is Departmental Lecturer in Historical Musicology at the Faculty of Music and a current TORCH Knowledge Exchange Fellow working on her project 'The Dream of Gerontius: Curating Catholic Music Digitally'. This podcast explores Elgar’s work The Dream of Gerontius through five historic locations associated with it, some of which have received little attention previously and are not part of the traditional Elgar tourist routes. The five locations at which filming will take place are: Worcester Cathedral; St George’s, Worcester; The Firs (Elgar’s Birthplace Museum); Birchwood Lodge (where the work was composed) and The Oratory, Birmingham.

Musical extracts from Elgar: The Dream of Gerontius (Hallé Orchestra/cond. Sir Mark Elder/Hyperion Records, 2008) are used with the kind permission of the Hallé Orchestra.

Images from the MS copyright of the Fathers of the Birmingham Oratory; digital images property of National Institute of Newman Studies, USA. Detail from Elgar letter used with kind permission of the British Library.

Filming undertaken with kind permission of The Oratory, Birmingham; The Chapter of Worcester Cathedral; St George’s Church, Worcester; The National Trust.

Produced by Tiger Features for TORCH/University of Oxford.

# Episode Title Description People Date
1 Episode 4. The Birmingham Oratory: Elgar and Newman Fr Guy Nicholls joins Dr Joanna Bullivant at The Oratory in Birmingham to discuss the origins of Elgar’s work in Cardinal Newman’s own poetry, charitable work, and love of music. Joanna Bullivant, Guy Nicholls 05 Aug 2021
2 Episode 3. The Firs and Birchwood Lodge: Natural Inspirations Dr Joanna Bullivant visits Elgar’s Birthplace - The Firs - and Birchwood Lodge, where The Dream of Gerontius was written, and talks about the inspiration Elgar drew from the natural landscapes in these two locations. Joanna Bullivant 05 Aug 2021
3 Episode 2. St George’s Church, Worcester: Marginal Origins Dr Joanna Bullivant is joined by Deacon Paul O’Connor to visit the Catholic church in which Elgar worshipped and acted as organist, and to discuss Elgar’s place in the history of Catholic Worcester. Joanna Bullivant, Paul O’Connor  05 Aug 2021
4 Episode 1. Worcester Cathedral: A Civic Legacy Dr Joanna Bullivant explores the tumultuous history of Elgar’s The Dream of Gerontius, and speaks to Samuel Hudson, Director of Music at Worcester Cathedral, to learn about the importance of Elgar’s work in Worcester today. Joanna Bullivant, Samuel Hudson 05 Aug 2021