Hertford Choral Society performed Elgar's Dream of Gerontius on 19th March 2016.  A review is given below, and pictures were also created by members of Hertford Art Society inspired by the piece.

Elgar wrote on the newly-completed score of The Dream of Gerontius “this is the best of me”. Whilst the influence of Brahms and Wagner is readily apparent, the work remains uniquely Elgarian, one of his most profound and powerful statements, and a tribute to his Roman Catholic faith, which remained strong throughout his life. The forces involved are huge, with full chorus, a massive orchestra, organ, and three first-class soloists required. Elgar rarely uses them all at once, but rather as a variety of timbres and colours, though when he does use the full forces, the climaxes are massively powerful. Balancing all these disparate elements requires masterly conducting, and maestro Derek Harrison, whose favourite work this is, proved more than up to the task, presenting a well-controlled performance, in which every word sung could be clearly heard.

First honours among the singers must, of course, go to tenor Adrian Thompson.  The part of Gerontius is very demanding, long, and with most at full voice and fortissimo. Mr Thompson never seemed to flag, and yet the quiet parts were sung with great feeling, managing to fill the vast spaces of the church at each volume level. David Wilson-Johnson’s baritone was excellent in the roles of the priest and the Angel of the agony. The Mezzo Rebecca Afonwy-Jones both looked and sang angelically as the Angel.

The chorus, as usual were meticulously rehearsed and sang with fine intonation throughout. Elgar’s orchestration is perfectly judged, always allowing the singers to be heard , and the orchestral playing was committed throughout.

This was a very fine performance on all counts, and I cannot but look forward to the next concert by our very own choral society, Hertford Choral Society.

Gordon Williams

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Come and sing with HCS from September

We will start rehearsing on Tuesday 3rd September, and then every Tuesday at Sele School, Hertford, SG14 2DG for the first concert of our 2019-20 season. It is on Saturday 2nd November 2019 when we will be performing Schubert's Mass in A Flat together with Chilcott's Dances of Time.

New members are very welcome to join, whatever your level of experience. You have the opportunity to join Taster Rehearsals free and, if you decide you would like to sing with us, you can do so for a term for a Taster Fee of £20, including music. HCS is a non-auditioned choir, you can find out more about a typical rehearsal here. If you are interested in coming along and singing with HCS, please contact our Membership Secretary, Trish Goldsmith, on 01992 589730 or at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.   Don’t hesitate to ask any question at all.

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