The Dream of Gerontius
Elgar is the third most popular composer in the Ultimate Hall of Fame, along with Tchaikovsky, as both composers have 12 entries. This is Elgar's 9th entry, and his first to feature in every Hall of Fame since 1996.
Coming just one year after the successful Enigma Variations, it would probably not have mattered which choral monster Elgar supplied for the Birmingham Festival. As it happened, he created a masterpiece, certainly his greatest choral work if not the greatest by any English composer.
Elgar had planned this piece since his thirties, and possessed a copy of Cardinal Newman's original poem with annotations by General Gordon of Khartoum; Gordon's notes on the text were retrieved from his belongings after his demise and became a popular Victorian publication. Despite a near-disastrous premiere performance, the work thrived. Over here, what is less well remembered is that it was only grudgingly accepted because of its Roman Catholic themes, to the point that it was banned in some cathedrals.
Buy your Ultimate Classic FM Hall of Fame Album now
Do you fancy an album packed full of four hours’ worth of guaranteed hits? Then the Ultimate Classic FM Hall of Fame album is right up your street!
The Movie Music Hall of Fame
Discover the nation's favourite film soundtracks in the Classic FM Movie Music Hall of Fame, featuring music by John Williams, Ennio Morricone and Hans Zimmer.
Don't miss the Classic FM Hall of Fame Hour
Join John Suchet for an hour of the very best classical music, from full-blooded Romantic concertos to delicate Classical miniatures.
Browse Halls of Fame past
Discover more about our annual chart and explore Halls of Fame past, as far back as 1996.