5 Nov 2019
On 5 November 1989, John Eliot Gardiner assembled an orchestra for a performance of Beethoven’s Missa solemnis. Although the concert came under the banner of the English Baroque Soloists, it marked the first public appearance of what was to subsequently become the Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique. It was a new kind of period instrument ensemble, exploring the works of composers like Beethoven, Brahms, Schumann and Berlioz with the a historically-informed approach that until then had mainly been applied to early and Baroque music. The total commitment and imagination of the players, together with the use of temperamental and characterful period instruments, have proved transformational – as conductor François-Xavier Roth said upon hearing the ORR perform Berlioz’s Symphonie fantastique at the Paris Conservatoire, “Berlioz’s original orchestra sounded again!”
ORR Principals on what makes the orchestra unique
The following 30 years have been filled with landmark performances, including the first posthumous performance of Berlioz’s Messe Solonnelle in 1994 to symphonic cycles by Beethoven, Brahms and Schumann in the US, Europe, the UK and Japan, period instrument performances of Verdi’s Falstaff and Requiem and multi-season residencies at the Théâtre de Châtelet and the Opéra Comique. Most recently, the ORR and John Eliot Gardiner received rave reviews for their production of Berlioz’s notoriously challenging first opera, Benvenuto Cellini, the first modern production using period instruments:
“A Benvenuto Cellini of unfailing gusto from John Eliot Gardiner and the Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique at the Proms.”
“Choir and orchestra were unsurpassed.”
“The audience seemed to be out of control with excitement and witnessed a true celebration of the old but eternally young Gardiner and his master troopers.”
30 Tracks for 30 Years: A Spotify playlist
To celebrate the 30th anniversary we’ve compiled a playlist of 30 tracks from the ORR’s substantial, award-winning discography, with selections from, Dinis Sousa (Assistant Conductor), Peter Hanson (Leader), Valerie Botwright, Marten Root, Robin Michael and Anneke Scott (Principals), MCO General Director Dr. Rosa Solina, and Artistic Advisor James Halliday. Click here to find out why these tracks were chosen as the most cherished ORR recordings.
2020 sees the ORR return to the composer whose work started it all as it celebrates both its own 30th anniversary and the 250th anniversary of the birth of Beethoven with a major transatlantic tour presenting all nine of his symphonies at the Palau de la Música in Barcelona, New York’s Carnegie Hall, the Harris Theater in Chicago and London’s Barbican Centre. Click here for more information and tickets.