This year it will be close to twenty years since the momentous Bach Cantata Pilgrimage in 2000 when John Eliot Gardiner led the Monteverdi Choir and English Baroque Soloists trailblazing tour, performing all 198 of Bach’s sacred Cantatas in more than 60 churches throughout Europe and the US.
Starting in May John Eliot Gardiner and the same two celebrated ensembles will draw inspiration from that phenomenal achievement and embark on a major new Bach Cantata project. This tour will bring a carefully selected programme of Cantatas from across the liturgical calendar to audiences in prominent concert halls and churches throughout Europe.
The first part of the Bach Cantata Ring tour will commence with eleven European dates including visits to the Concertgebouw, Amsterdam, the Frauenkirche at the Dresden Music Festival and the Musikverein in Vienna. These are closely followed by performances at the Liszt Academy, Budapest along with a visit to the prestigious Prague Spring Festival before finishing the May leg of the tour in Italy with dates in Perugia, Pavia and Bologna.
The programme during this part of the tour will feature a mixed programme of highlights from Easter, Trinity and Advent Cantatas that will take audiences on a journey across the sacred calendar and showcase some of Bach’s finest and most memorable choral works.
Then in June, our attentions turn to what promises to be a landmark series of cantata performances in Leipzig, where John Eliot Gardiner, in his role as President of the Bach Archiv, has assembled an impressive roster of the world’s best Bach performers. These include Tom Koopman with his Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra & Choir, Masaaki Suzuki with the Bach Collegium Japan, and the Gaechinger Cantorey with their new director Hans-Christoph Rademan along with Bach’s own choir, the Thomaner with the Gewandhaus Orchestra under Thomaskantor Gotthold Schwarz.
They will be joined by John Eliot Gardiner and the Monteverdi Choir to take part in the Leipzig Cantata Ring: 30 sacred cantatas, performed cyclically over the course of a single weekend, alternating between the churches of St. Thomas and St. Nicholas and arranged by the place of each cantata in the liturgical year – from the first Sunday of Advent to the 27th Sunday after Trinity Sunday. This same ‘Ring’ of cantatas will then travel to London’s Barbican between 15-17 June for their Bach Weekend before continuing the tour in Paris with a further series of cantata performances at the Chapelle Royale, Versailles and the Basilique de St Denis.
The tour will conclude with a performance at the annual Festival Berlioz, where we will showcase four of Bach’s finest cantatas one final time at the Église Abbatiale in Saint-Antoine-l’Abbaye.