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The Dream of Gerontius

Mr Simeone featured on a Radio 4 programme this week, speaking about a famous musical work "The Dream of Gerontius" by the English composer Sir Edward Elgar.

The text was written by Blessed John Henry Newman - an English cardinal who was given the title "Blessed" by Pope Benedict on his visit to Britain 6 years ago. The piece, which uses both solo singers, a choir and an orchestra tells the story of a person's dying and his soul rising to new life and judgement before God. The piece is a very meditative one and in total contrast to the piece we all know Elgar for - "Land of Hope and Glory"!

Last month Mr Simeone went to the Birmingham Oratory to record the  programme in Cardinal Newman's very own private library - see photo.  This Oratory is both a church and the home to a group of Catholic priests and was founded in the 1800s by Blessed John Henry Newman. The team of presenters were able to look at the original hand written manuscript of the music by Elgar and use their expertise to do some on-the-spot detective work about how the music developed and changed as it was written.  Mr Simeone said: "Looking at the handwritten manuscript of Elgar's great oratorio setting Cardinal Newman's poem  was a deeply moving experience for all the participants, especially as  the programme was made in Newman's own library." You can listen to the 30 minute programme called "Tales from the Stave" on  Saturday, 18th June at 3:30 p.m., or on line using BBC iPlayer: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b07ffxsp