Elgar’s The Dream of Gerontius: A Story in Five Places | Episode 3



Episode 3 | The Firs and Birchwood Lodge: Natural Inspirations

Image depicting 'The Firs', Elgar's birtplace

'The Firs', Elgar's birtplace | Image credit: By Hikitsurisan via Wikimedia

Dr Joanna Bullivant visits Elgar’s Birthplace – The Firs – and Birchwood Lodge, where The Dream of Gerontius was written, and talks about the inspiration Elgar drew from the natural landscapes in these two locations.


Dr Joanna Bullivant is Departmental Lecturer in Historical Musicology at the Faculty of Music and a current TORCH Knowledge Exchange Fellow working on her project 'The Dream of Gerontius: Curating Catholic Music Digitally'. This podcast series (4 episodes) explores Elgar’s work 'The Dream of Gerontius' through five historic locations associated with it, some of which have received little attention previously and are not part of the traditional Elgar tourist routes. The five locations at which filming will take place are: Worcester Cathedral; St George’s, Worcester; The Firs (Elgar’s Birthplace Museum); Birchwood Lodge (where the work was composed) and The Oratory, Birmingham.


Musical extracts from Elgar: The Dream of Gerontius (Hallé Orchestra/cond. Sir Mark Elder/Hyperion Records, 2008) are used with the kind permission of the Hallé Orchestra.

Images from the MS copyright of the Fathers of the Birmingham Oratory; digital images property of National Institute of Newman Studies, USA. Detail from Elgar letter used with kind permission of the British Library.

Filming undertaken with kind permission of The Oratory, Birmingham; The Chapter of Worcester Cathedral; St George’s Church, Worcester; The National Trust.

Produced by Tiger Features for TORCH/University of Oxford.


Episode 1  |  Worcester Cathedral: A Civic Legacy  |  Release date: 12/08/2021

Episode 2  |  St George’s Church, Worcester: Marginal Origins  |  Release date: 17/08/2021

Episode 3  |  The Firs and Birchwood Lodge: Natural Inspirations  |  Release date: 24/08/2021

Episode 4  |  The Birmingham Oratory: Elgar and Newman  |  Release date: 31/08/2021

You can read more about Dr Joanna Bullivant's KE Fellowship 'The Dream of Gerontius: Curating Catholic Music Digitally' on the project webpage.