English Baroque Soloists
John Eliot Gardiner - conductor
Bach Cantata Ring 2018
Finale of BWV 140 at Bachfest, Leipzig
In 2000, John Eliot Gardiner led the Monteverdi Choir and English Baroque Soloists on their acclaimed Bach Cantata Pilgrimage - a trailblazing tour that showcased 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 drew inspiration from that phenomenal achievement and embarked on a major new Bach Cantata project. This tour brought 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 commenced with eleven European dates, including visits to the Concertgebouw, Amsterdam, the Frauenkirche at the Dresden Music Festival and the Musikverein in Vienna. These were 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 concerts in Perugia, Pavia and Bologna.
This part of the tour featured a mixed programme of highlights from Easter, Trinity and Advent Cantatas that took audiences on a journey across the sacred calendar and showcased some of Bach’s finest and most memorable choral works.
In June, the tour then traveled to Leipzig for the annual Bachfest, where John Eliot Gardiner - in his role as President of the Bach Archiv - assembled an impressive roster of the world’s best Bach performers. These included Ton 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 were joined by John Eliot Gardiner, the Monteverdi Choir and the English Baroque Soloists 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 then traveled 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 concluded with a performance at the annual Festival Berlioz, where the ensembles showcased four of Bach’s finest cantatas one final time at the Église Abbatiale in Saint-Antoine-l’Abbaye.
‘Not only Bach’s music reaches heaven, but so do the voices of the Monteverdi Choir.’ - Trouw ★★★★
‘Gardiner drew deeply expressive singing from his Monteverdi Choir and playing from the English Baroque Soloists, sculpting eloquent phrases in accordance with the graphic imagery’ - Evening Standard ★★★★
‘Gardiner’s best moment of all was his encore to Wachet auf, a reprise of the final chorale sung by the entire audience, exactly as it would have been in 1731.’ - ★★★★★ The Arts Desk