Magnificent Monteverdis master the monumental ‘Missa Solemnis’!

Sir John Eliot Gardiner and a trio of Askonas Holt singers raise the roof of the Barbican Hall with Beethoven.

Congratulations to Sir John Eliot Gardiner and to three of Askonas Holt’s talented young singers – Lucy Crowe, Jennifer Johnston and Matthew Rose – who together with the combined forces of the Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique and the Monterverdi Choir raised the roof of the Barbican Hall on Wednesday with a sensational performance of Beethoven’s great Missa Solemnis.  

The concert was not only a fundraising gala for the Monteverdi Ensembles but also the culmination of a three week tour which saw the group perform this monumental work in no less than ten of Europe’s greatest concert halls including Cologne’s Philharmonie, Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw, the Festspielhaus in Baden-Baden, the Salle Pleyel in Paris and Vienna’s Konzerthaus.

 Hilary Finch, reviewing the London performance in The Times, wrote that the piece was performed “to perfection and brought into terrifying life in this gala fundraising concert”.  She also commented that “Johnston’s mezzo contributed both warmth and sombre darkness to the ensemble” and that “Crowe’s indefatigable and unerring soprano, a bright peal of bells in the Sanctus, rang in the ears long after the performance was over”.  Die Presse, reviewing the performance in Vienna, said “mit Superlativen soll man vorsichtig sein. Wie aber sonst lässt sich von einer Aufführung berichten, in der alles passte”(“one has to be careful with superlatives. But how else could you report on a performance where everything just worked”).  

Sir John Eliot Gardiner and his forces continue the tour next month taking the Missa Solemnis and Beethoven’s Symphony no. 9 to venues in America, including Carnegie Hall, where they will perform on 16 and 17 November.  

Bravo !

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