Birmingham Conservatoire's Adrian Boult Hall will host its final performance (of Verdi's Requiem) on Sunday, June 26, before being demolished as part of the £500m 'paradise' regeneration project in Birmingham. Before that final performance, extracts from a recently rediscovered colour film of Sir Adrian Boult conducting Elgar's The Dream of Gerontius from 1968 will be shown, some of which you can enjoy in the video below:
The film was made at Canterbury Cathedral and was not without its problems. The organ, for instance, was disabled and so a link to a parish church nearby was established where, with the help of closed circuit television, the organist was able to participate in the performance.
Andrew Neill, former Chairman of the Elgar Society and Trustee of the Elgar Birthplace said: 'During Sir Adrian Boult’s long and distinguished life he became a supreme interpreter of much of Elgar’s music winning accolades and awards for performances and recordings. Contrary to the opinion that Elgar was neglected after the composer’s death, Boult championed his music throughout his conducting life notably during his tenure as Director of Music at the BBC.
'He was long associated with performances of The Dream of Gerontius and there are excerpts available from a broadcast performance in 1936 that show his conception of the work, once settled, changed little over the intervening 32 years before this film was made. Broadcast on Easter Sunday, 14 April 1968, Boult’s verdict was that "…the production is a milestone whence television technique can move in a fresh direction".'
The full performance will be remastered and released on DVD by ICA Classics in October.