UPLIFTING sound will soar to the rafters when 170 singers come together to sing Elgar’s choral masterpiece ‘The Dream of Gerontius’ in the glorious setting of Exeter Cathedral on Saturday, July 15.

The Exeter Festival Chorus will be joined by members of two German choirs — the Kantorei choir of Hanau and the Bach choir of Bad Homburg — plus the Schola Exe Children’s Choir and soloists Daniel Norman, Jess Dandy and Alex Ashworth, together with the players of the Southen Sinfonia, all under the direction of conductor Andrea Brown.

This large and powerful work begins with a man facing death, his fears hardly eased by the prayers of his friends. But his soul is then guided past jeering crowds of demons and through heavenly hosts singing magnificent hymns of praise, to reach a breathtaking momentary vision of his God.

Finally he is willingly borne away to purification in Purgatory, as the unceasing heavenly praises fade into the distance.

‘This is the best of me,’ the composer wrote on his manuscript score, and the work’s dramatic realization of anguish, acceptance, faith and awe fully bears that out.

One need not be a believing Christian to be moved by its depiction of shared human experience.

Most reserved seats for the concert have been sold, but tickets for unreserved seats are available through the EFC’s website (www.exeterfestivalchorus.org.uk) or by phone through Ticketsource (0333 666 3366).