09 September 2021, The Tablet

Singing out the similarities: Sir John Eliot Gardner on top form


BBC Proms: Monteverdi Choir & English Baroque Soloists, John Eliot Gardiner
Royal Albert Hall, London

How do you mark your sixtieth Proms performance? If you’re Sir John Eliot Gardiner (inset), you return to where it all began: to the music of Bach and Handel (Royal Albert Hall, 1 September).

In recent years, half a century since Gardiner’s Proms debut in 1968, we’ve heard a lot of Berlioz and a smattering of Beethoven from the conductor at the festival – all exhilarating, technicolour stuff. But, long before there was the nineteenth-century orchestra in all its sprawling richness, there were the Baroque bands Bach and his contemporaries would have known: a smaller musical palette, but no less vibrant in the right hands.

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