11
Aug

Prom 22 | Schütz and J. S. Bach | Monteverdi Choir, English Baroque Soloists and Sir John Eliot Gardiner

★★★★ THE DAILY TELEGRAPH The splendour of three Psalm settins by Heinrich Schütz passed before us like a gorgeously coloured procession, with bright fanfares of cornets and drums answered by voices and violins.

★★★★ THE TIMES There’s a whole Reformation Day to come (August 20), but this fine concert of three Heinrich Schütz psalm setting and two Bach cantatas will take some topping.

★★★★ MUSIC OMH Sir John Eliot Gardiner […] continues to improve with age. […] Gardiner’s usual crew of the English Baroque Soloists and Monteverdi Choir were on fine form, the voices blending well in spite of the problems always presented to early-music groups by the Albert Hall

PLANET HUGILL The result was rather striking and surprisingly endearing. John Eliot Gardiner used quite large forces, but drew quite an intimate performance particularly in the single choir passages.

SEEN AND HEARD INTERNATIONAL The superb clarity Gardiner managed to extract from his forces for the opening chorus was most impressive […] This was a very special concert.

CLASSICAL SOURCE here [Sir John Eliot Gardiner] brought his wealth of experience and intellectual rigour to both programming and performance. And just to prove his versatility, in Prom 31 he turns to Berlioz’s Damnation of Faust

 

Prom 31 | Berlioz The Damnation of Faust

★★★★★ THE INDEPENDENT With the orchestra (his own Orchestre Revolutionnaire et Romantique) centre-stage, every passing instrumental flicker and aside was amplified – a sardonic bassoon here, a guffawing ophicleide there – playing dramatically off a cast which was the stuff of dreams.

★★★★ ARTSDESK he tore through the livelier scenes with the sharpest of edges from his Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique

★★★★ FINANCIAL TIMES One of the delights of Gardiner’s Berlioz has always been that he plays these effects to the hilt: the hellish trombones, the woozy solo bassoon trailing after the students, the plaintive cor anglais haunting Marguérite, every detail told.

★★★★★ MUSICOMH overall this performance felt as polished as it was entertaining from start to finish.

★★★★★ THE GUARDIAN If only my long-ago predecessor could have heard Tuesday night’s Prom, played by the Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique on instruments close to those of Berlioz’s day, and with the main roles sung by the faultless, never feeble trio […] the Monteverdi Choir which, with the National Youth Choir of Scotland and Trinity Boys Choir, supplied the strong, tightly-drilled and versatile chorus under the baton of John Eliot Gardiner

★★★★ DAILY EXPRESS Another great evening at the Proms

SEEN AND HEARD INTERNATIONAL Gardiner completely belies his age (74), encouraging his forces to give their all and showing a complete grasp of the score […] A triumph. Berlioz in period garb is a revelation.

BACHTRACK this delightful performance of La Damnation de Faust […] and hair-raising.

THE TIMES John Eliot Gardiner, whose Berlioz performances […] have becomes Proms highlights, ad this thrilling night was no exception. […] All four soloists were on strong form. […] Next year he returns to the Proms with the same forces as Aeneas in Berlioz’s Les Troyens. Don’t miss it.

ANDREW BENSON-WILSON John Eliot Gardiner kept careful control on the various scenes, avoiding the temptation to rush and allowing the gentler moments to unfold