Concert Reviews
St. Matthew Passion - Edinburgh International Festival

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Usher Hall, Edinburgh, 13 August 2016 review, Barbara Bryan: ★★★★★

"[John Eliot Gardiner] is an absolute authority on J S Bach and this was
a unique performance in many ways."

Read the full review on

The Herald Scotland review, Keith Bruce: ★★★★
"Tenor James Gilchrist may well be the Evangelist of our era..."

"With all the singers, and some of the instrumental soloists, performing from memory, it was a mighty feat..."
Read the full review on the Herald Scotland website  
The Scotsman review, Susan Nickalls: ★★★
"The Monteverdi Choir, augmented by the excellent National Youth Choir of Scotland
National Girls Choir who bookended Part I, provided a rich, fulsome choral sound."

Read the full review on the Scotsman website
Bach: St Matthew Passion tour 2016 - Part 2

“The instrumentalists play eloquently and with soul… the breath-taking oboe soloists... the clear and beautiful singing of the soloists from the choir” - Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

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Braunschweig | Leipzig | Aldeburgh

Braunschweig: Kaiserdom Königslutter, 15 June 2016

Braunschweig Zeitung, Andreas Berger

"Eindrucksvoll gerieten besonders die chorale, fur die der Monteverdi Choir auch die Solisten der Arien und Handelnden des Passionsgeschehens integriert und so zu einem fülligen Gesamtklang anwächst, der dank der präzisen Stimmen trozdem klar und durchsichtig bleibt. Ein Phänomen."

Trans: “The hymns were especially impressive, as the Monteverdi Choir integrates the soloists for the arias and actors in the Passion events and so increases to a robust overall sound that nevertheless remains clear and transparent thanks to the precision of the vocals. A phenomenon.” 

"Spannend an Gardiners Dirigat is der Fabenreichtum. Wenn etwa Christus seine Jünger im Garten Gethsemane anspricht, da breitet Gardiner in den Streichern einen samtigen Teppich der liebe aus."

Trans: “What is enthralling about Gardiner’s conducting is the richness of colour. When Christ is addressing his disciples in the garden of Gethsemane, Gardiner spreads out a velvety carpet of love with the strings.” 

Leipzig: Thomaskirche, 16 June 2016

Leipziger Volks Zeitung, Werner Kopfmüller

"[Gardiner] immer Herr des Geschehens...Mit dem ganzen Körper wiegt er sich auf und ab, zeichnet mit den Händen sorgsam-ge-schmeidig die Linie einer jeden stimme nach. Mal bündelt er den klang zu größter Dichte, dann fächert er ihn wieder sanft auf."

Trans: “[Gardiner] is always master of the event… with his whole body, he sways up and down, his hands carefully and smoothly trace the line of each voice. Now he bundles the sound to maximum density, then he gently fans it back.” 

"Dass im übrigen sowohl der Monteverdi Choir als auch alle Solisten komplett auswendig singen, ist keine Selbstverständlichkeit, für Sir John Eliot jedoch Voraussetzung, um die Dramatik, dir sich in der Musik Bachs konzentriert, möglichst wirkungsvoll zur Geltung zu bringen."

Trans: “That both the Monteverdi Choir and all the soloists sang entirely from memory should not be taken for granted, for Sir John Eliot it  is a prerequisite to the drama, which focuses on Bach's music to realise it most effectively.” 

BBC Proms - Berlioz: Romeo et Juliette

“This complex Shakespearean symphony gained a sinister edge by the
Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique under John Eliot Gardiner, with beautiful choral singing
throughout” - The Guardian: 

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Royal Albert Hall, London, 30 July 2016


The Financial Times review, Richard Fairman: ★★★★★

“…this was primarily an evening for Gardiner and his period orchestra at their inspired best…At this performance every note mattered”

Read the full review on the Financial Times website

The Telegraph review, Rupert Christiansen: ★★★★
“…this was a meticulously authentic but never pedantic interpretation, notable for the wonderfully delicate playing of the Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique, particularly sensitive in the gently palpitating tenderness of the love scenes.”
Read the full review on the Telegraph website  
The Times review, Richard Morrison:

“It was Gardiner’s own galvanising approach, however, that mattered most. A score sometimes dismissed as diffuse and uneven suddenly seemed like one of the mightiest cornerstones of romanticism.”

Read the full review on the Times website

 The Guardian review, Tim Ashley: ★★★

“John Eliot Gardiner and the Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique offered a superbly cogent interpretation that emphasised the work’s tragic elements… The ORR’s lean sound conferred a sinister edge to the Queen Mab scherzo, and their sinewy, detailed playing spoke volumes in the opening brawl, taken at almost terrifying speed.” 

Read the full review on the Guardian website 

Bach: St Matthew Passion tour 2016

"An unforgettable performance: unique in its rhetoric force, fulfilment and brimming with ideas." - NRC Handelsblad 

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Valencia | Pamplona | Barcelona | Lucerne |
Amsterdam | Brussels | Paris | London

Valencia: Palau de la Música, 11 March 2016

Las Provincias Review, César Rus

"Sir John Eliot Gardiner's version reminds us that he is one of the highest authorities in this repertoire. His version is perfect with profundity and delicacy, conducted with absolute devotion." 

Levante Review, Joan Ribó

"Yesterday, Sir John Eliot Gardiner came back to Valencia to conduct the St Matthew Passion by Johann Sebastian Bach. In other words, one of the greatest works of musical history, conducted by a great exponent of this German composer's music." 

Pamplona: Baluarte de Pamplona, 13 March 2016

Beckmesser Review, José M. Irurzun

"Authority, emotion and complicity with his musicians, nothing was missing in this spectacular concert that Gardiner offered us. His English Baroque Soloists, in two orchestras, were an exceptional group of soloists. They were perfectly together with the help of their conductor. The Monteverdi Choir, formed of 28 singers, among whom half took the role of soloists outstandingly. The musicality, intonation and unity of this group of artists were spectacular. As often happens with English choirs, the Baroque idiom runs through their veins." 

Barcelona: Palau de la Música Catalana, 15 March 2016

El Periódico Review, César López Rosell

"Gardiner’s interpretation communicates and recalls the emotions of fervour and pain in the score which surpassed the limits of transcendence. After midnight, the audience left the room euphorically after their standing ovation for the stars of the night." 

Read the full review on the El Periódico website 

El País Review, Xavier Pujol

"The Performance of the English Baroque Soloists was, again, tremendous. The formation was responsive and rich with fine precision delivering the requirements of the baton. The Monteverdi Choir, who performed a work of more than three hours without sheet music, is an almost unbelievable combination of reliability and sensitivity. The finest choir members also took the solo arias with admirable skill." 

Lucerne: KKL Concert Hall, 17 March 2016

Neue Zürcher Zeitung Review, Christian Wildhagen: 

"Right from the start of the Lucerne Easter Festival at the KLL, Sir John Eliot Gardiner and his English Baroque Soloists left us no doubt with their performance in demonstrating the deepest sound of unrestrained grief and expression of despair over humanity, which has lost all hope in its irrationality and delusion, or even worse, is nailed to the cross."

Read the full review on the Neue Zürcher Zeitung website 

Bachtrack Review, Sarah Batschelet: ★★★★

"The Bach mass inspired emotions that ranged from the depths of despair and fear of the brutal crowd and to the profound beauty and “bliss” of the melodic chorales."

Read the full review on the Bachtrack website 

Amsterdam: Het Concertgebouw, 22 March 2016

NRC Handelsblad Review, Mischa Spel: ★★★★★

"An everlasting deafening applause followed, which is so uncommon for performance of a Passion"

Trouw Review, Frederike Berntsen: 

"The Monteverdi Choir: twenty-eight forces, rock-solid and perfectly articulate as a choir. The extreme transparency that characterises the full sound of this group is peerless: purely balancing between a warm and clear immersion of sound."

Brussels: Bozar, 23 March 2016

De Tijd Review, Koen Van Boxem: 

"Everyone's feelings couldn't have been more intense then on this Wednesday at the Klarafestival in the Palais des Beaux Arts. The St Matthew Passion is all about suffering, comfort, mercy and hope. As if Bach had written it specifically for this evening. The applause was unstoppable and a standing ovation retuned our faith in the goodness of mankind and the meaning of life."

Paris: Philharmonie, 25 March 2016

Le Figaro Review, Christian Merlin: 

"Since he founded the Monteverdi Choir fifty-two years ago, John Eliot Gardiner has made it the best choir in the world, three hours to admire their perfect intonation, absolute transparency and ability to colour each word"

Read the full review on  Le Figaro website 

London: Barbican Centre, 26 March 2016

Financial Times Review, Richard Fairman: ★★★★★

"He [Gardiner] now makes his points with the musical equivalent of a flick of the wrist. Accents, colours, feelings flash past — all the wisdom he has accumulated about Bach over half a century. Only Gardiner’s own choir and orchestra could keep up with him."

Read the full review on the Financial Times website 

Guardian Review, Tim Ashley: ★★★★

"It was a beautifully focused interpretation, exacting in its differentiation between narrative drama and devotional reflection, deeply felt yet avoiding any trace of sanctimony."

Read the full review on the Guardian website  

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