For its season finales, the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra typically goes big with Austro-German composers, drawing on large-scale works by the likes of Gustav Mahler to give audiences a familiar sense of occasion. This year, however, Edo de Waart offers another momentous work for orchestra and chorus, Edward Elgar’s The Dream of Gerontius,
a piece composed in 1900 that stands as an affirmation of the English composer’s Catholic faith. At one point as popular in England as Handel’s Messiah, and regarded by some as Elgar’s masterpiece, this symphony describes the journey of a man from his death bed to heavenly judgment, featuring three soloists and a massive chorus.
➞ The Dream of Gerontius (May 31-June 1). Uihlein Hall. Marcus Center for the Performing Arts. 929 N. Water St., 414-273-7206, marcuscenter.org.