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Elgar - The Kingdom

Date: Saturday 25th November

Venue: Main Auditorium - 7.30pm

Elgar - The Kingdom

Bedford Choral Society
Elgar - The Kingdom


  • Rebecca Bottone  -  Soprano
  • Jeanette Ager       -  Mezzo Soprano
  • Ben Thapa           -  Tenor
  • Andrew Slater      -  Bass

With the Bedford Sinfonia conducted by our Director of Music Ian Smith

Elgar's oratorio The Kingdom, was first performed at the Birmingham Festival of 1906. The composition of its music had been spread over some five years; the assembly of Biblical words & other sources intermittently occupied Elgar  even longer. Six years earlier The Dream of Gerontius’s first performance was at the same festival. Elgar on finishing it could write without boastfulness: "This is the best of me"; and this has remained the opinion of many.*

Adrian Boult chose The Kingdom over The Dream for a 1968 recording, EMI 7 64902-2.  In a note accompanying the original release of that he stated: “I think there is a great deal in The Kingdom that is more than a match for Gerontius, and I feel that it is a much more balanced work and throughout maintains a stream of glorious music…” **

Boult also cited Elgar’s friend Frank Schuster “My dear boy, beside The Kingdom, Gerontius is the work of a raw amateur.” **

I first discovered “The Dream”, at an outstanding performance conducted by David Hill in Westminster Cathedral some 20 years ago and The Dream became top of my favourites list. As the, new to me, rehearsals for The Kingdom progress,  my agreement with Boult is growing. I look forward to an exciting, uplifting  performance not to be missed!


* Making Music Programme notes citing interview for the Musical Times of October 1900 

**Music Web International at

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