9th December 2019

Anne and I are still in a trance this morning after a profoundly moving and immaculately prepared performance by the Oxford Bach Choir and CBSO of ‘The Dream of Gerontius’ yesterday evening, a concert dedicated to the memory of Sir Stephen Cleobury, members of whose family were present. The Sheldonian Theatre was packed, Roderick Williams, Ed Lyon and Kathryn Rudge were on inspired vocal form, and Benjamin Nicholas steered his forces through the deep streams and flashing rapids of Elgar’s masterpiece with calm aplomb and complete control. Intense detailed preparation of the score is all-important when it comes to conducting Elgar; few are as well-prepared as Ben Nicholas, who has an instinctive feel for just the right tempo at every moment. Totally inspiring!