Concert Reviews
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.” 

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  

Mendelssohn: A Midsummer Night's Dream with the LSO

"The Monteverdi Choir very nearly stole the whole show with a pinpoint perfect rendering of the fairies’ lullaby for Titania." - Guardian 

Ladies of the Monteverdi Choir

Frankfurt| Hannover| London

London: Barbican Centre, 16 February 2016

The Times Review, Neil Fisher: ★★★★★

"Ethereal fairy choruses were beautifully handled by the Monteverdi Choir... Gardiner led a buoyant and zestful performance."  

Read the full review on The Times website 

Bachtrack Review, Mark Pullinger: ★★★★

"I doubt I’ll hear it better played than the LSO under Sir John Eliot Gardiner in this Mendelssohnian feast... Ladies from the Monteverdi Choir gave splendid voice and crisp diction to “Ye Spotted Snakes” and the finale “Through the House”."

Read the full review on the Bachtrack website 

The Guardian Review, Martin Kettle: ★★★★★

"The Monteverdi Choir very nearly stole the whole show with a pinpoint perfect rendering of the fairies’ lullaby for Titania."  

Read the full review on The Guardian website 

Hannover: Kuppelsaal, 11 February 2016

Hannoversche Allgemeine Zeitung Review, Stefan Arndt: 

"The substantial improvement [of the new Kuppelsaal] becomes very clear through hearing the fabulous female singers of the Monteverdi Choir: their voices sound warm, clear and they reach both the ears and hearts of the listening audience." 

Read the full review on the Hannoversche Allgemeine Zeitung website 

Frankfurt: Alte Oper, 10 February 2016

Wiesbadener Kurier Review, Axel Zibulski:

“Fortunately, the Monteverdi Choir, the English Baroque Soloist and Sir John Eliot Gardiner are precious and rare instruments that connect precision and flexibility: the accuracy and the stylistic rigor with an intense expressivity: the equilibrium with the force... the Monteverdi Choir sounded like the best choir in the world." 

Read the full review on the Wiesbadener Kurier website Review, Jens Klier: ★★★★

"This evening the Monteverdi Choir consisted of 12 ladies [...] who sung the fairy dances flawlessly with lean and delicate voices [...]. Jessica Cale, Charlotte Ashley, Rebecca Hardwick and Sarah Denbee came from the choir's own ranks and provided the solo performances, all reciting in the most tender and tonally pure way which was perfected with the greatest vocal and lyrical persuasiveness." 

Read the full review on the website 
Mozart: Great Mass/ Requiem/ Symphonies tour

"By the end, it felt as if we’d plumbed every depth these wonderful works have to offer." - Telegraph

C minor mass at the Paris Philharmonie

Bristol | Zurich | Udine | Salzburg | Barcelona | London

London: Cadogan Hall, 27 January 2016

The Daily Telegraph Review, Ivan Hewett: ★★★★★

"The rising sequence in the Lacrimosa, often rendered with stately magnificence, here had a hushed astonished quality, as if the choir were witnessing that day “when the guilty arise from the dust. ... By the end, it felt as if we’d plumbed every depth these wonderful works have to offer." 

Read the full review on The Telegraph website 

Evening Standard Review, Nick Kimberley: ★★★★

"The choir wasn’t large but at musical climaxes it threatened to raise the roof, yet there was also hushed intensity. The four young soloists, emerging from within the choir, sang with focused vigour, bass David Shipley bestowing some operatic gravitas. This was a Requiem that poured balm one moment, breathed fire the next."

Read the full review on the Evening Standard website 

Paris: Philharmonie, 25 January 2016

Tout la Culture Review: ★★★★★

"Sir John Eliot Gardiner, the English Baroque Soloists and the Monteverdi Choir enchanted in full Bristish baroque fashion at the Philharmonie in a perfect programme of Mozart." 

Read the full review on the Tout la culture website 

Barcelona: Auditori de Barcelona, 24 January 2016

El Pais Review, Xavier Pujol: "A Mozart bordering on perfection"

“Fortunately, the Monteverdi Choir, the English Baroque Soloist and Sir John Eliot Gardiner are precious and rare instruments that connect precision and flexibility: the accuracy and the stylistic rigor with an intense expressivity: the equilibrium with the force... the Monteverdi Choir sounded like the best choir in the world." 

Salzburg: Festspielhaus, 22 January 2016

Drehpunkt Kultur Review, Elisabeth Amiller: 

"The Choir has a very special quality: full of liveliness, colour and flexibility, highly sensitive as well as forceful. Every bar sounds exquisite." 

Read the full review on the Drehpunkt Kultur website 

Bristol: Colston Hall, 15 January 2016

Guardian Review, Rhian Evans: ★★★★

" was the Jupiter Symphony, K551, in C Major, that stood out, both serene and noble, flowing with a vital energy that lent its own impetus to the finale where the fugal writing – who better than Gardiner to demonstrate Mozart vying with Bach? – had a brilliant precision."

Read the full review on The Guardian website 

The Times Review, Rebecca Franks: 

"The restless energy of No 40 crackled; two horns standing either side of the stage to add drama to the outer movements. And the Jupiter, with its huge variety of emotion and idea, came across with exhilarating zeal."

Read the full review on The Times website 

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