by James Hamilton-Paterson

James Hamilton-Paterson - Gerontius

BBC Radio 4

"Gerontius" is the story of a real voyage in the life of Sir Edward Elgar, the celebrated composer of the quintessentially English tune 'Land of Hope and Glory'. The cruise up the Amazon is a holiday for the disillusioned music-maker. In telling the story of his journey, Hamilton-Paterson explores the waning of creative genius, post-war disenchantment and the effects of the changing times on an artist imprisoned in his own immense reputation.

Dramatised from James Hamilton-Paterson's 1989 novel, "Gerontius".

Directed by John Powell

1) 'Unfinished Business' (Wednesday 10th January 1990 @ 11:02 a.m.)

In November 1923, the RMS Hildebrand prepared to put out from the port of Liverpool on a voyage across the Atlantic, 4,000 miles to the coast of Brazil and then 1,000 miles up the Amazon River as far as Manaus. The disillusioned passenger in Deluxe Cabin
2, Sir Edward Elgar, was booked for the six-week round trip, still despairing over his wife's death and apparently eager to avoid the forced jollity of Christmas.

With Michael Hordern [Sir Edward Elgar], Rosalind Ayres [Miss Molly Aire, the Artist], Nigel Lambert [Mr. Fortescue, a Survey Pilot], Garard Green [Stewart Pyce], Marcia King [Ivy Hammond], Christopher Good [Captain Madrell], Rosalie Crutchley [Magdalena von Pussels], and Maurice Denham [The Reverend Miles Moss].

Re-broadcast Sunday 14th January 1990 @ 2:02 a.m. and Thursday 29th August 1991 @ 8:00 p.m.

45 minutes.

2) 'Lost Voices' (Wednesday 17th January 1990 @ 11:02 a.m.)

On Friday 7th December 1923 Edward Elgar arrives at Manaus, the muddiest waterfront he's ever seen, though he hasn't the faintest idea on why he came. Lately, he's been having disturbing odd dreams about luggage, that somewhere in Manaus there's a huge warehouse stuffed with clutter which belongs to him - not just a cabin trunk but an entire lifetime's junk.

A surprise awaits Elgar when he runs into Lena von Pussels, now a widow, a German woman whom he had loved in his youth, 40 years earlier....

With Michael Hordern [Sir Edward Elgar], Rosalie Crutchley [Magdalena von Pussels], Maurice Denham [The Reverend Miles Moss], Rosalind Ayres [Miss Molly Aire, the Artist], Nigel Lambert [Mr. Fortescue, a Survey Pilot], and Garard Green [Stewart Pyce].

Re-broadcast Sunday 21st January 1990 @ 2:02 a.m. and Thursday 5th September 1991 @ 8:00 p.m.

45 minutes.


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