"The poem has been soaking in my mind for at least eight years," Elgar told a newspaper reporter during the summer of 1900, just weeks before the première of The Dream of Gerontius in Birmingham.
Those eight years were crucial to Elgar's development as a composer. From 1892 to 1900 he wrote six large-scale works for voices, beginning with The Black Knight in 1892 and includingKing Olaf in 1896, Caractacus in 1898 and Sea Pictures in 1899. He also conducted the premières of each one, gaining valuable experience in the practical side of vocal music. Most importantly, perhaps, he gained confidence, particularly after the great success of the Enigma Variations in 1899 made him a national figure.
For the complete article, please use the link: