Friday 16 November 2012

Spend Easter Monday with Bach

On Easter Monday (1 April 2013), John Eliot Gardiner with lead a 12 hour marathon of performances of Bach's music at the Royal Albert Hall. The event comes a few weeks before Gardiner's 70th birthday, and will be the culmination of a series of Bach related activities including documentaries, a book, CD's and of course the marathon.

In March 2013 Gardiner will present a documentary on Bach for BBC Two. His biography of the composer will be published by Allen Lane in Autumn 2013. And the long awaited conclusion to his Bach cantata Pilgrimage is reached in March 2013 with the release of the final recordings, the Ascension cantatas on his Soli Deo Gloria label.

On Easter Monday, the marathon starts at 10.30am with Gardiner himself conducting the Monteverdi Choir and English Bach Soloists in the St John Passion. This is followed by a discussion, with neuroscientist Antonio Damasio, doctor and philosopher Raymond Tallis and performer and musicologist Robert Levin.

Then the musicians from the Royal Academy of Music conducted by Iain Ledingham perform Cantata BWV 66, Bleib be uns. The Cello Suite No. 6, BWV 1012 follows played by Alban Gerhardt.

Robert Levin reappears as performer with the Britten Sinfonia to play Bach Concertos. Then another cantata, BWV 100 Was Gott tut, das ist wohlgetan, though this is in fact a new piece based on themes from the cantata sung by Woven Gold conducted by Howard Moody; Woven Gold is a choir made up of musicians and refugees from around the world.

Viktoria Mullova plays the great Chaconne from Partita no. 2 in D minor BWV 1004, followed by Bach's keyboard works. Then the audience gets the chance to learn the chorale from Cantata BWV 4 Christ lag in Todesbanden before Gardiner and his forces return to perform the cantata.

Cameron Carpenter plays Bach's organ music and the evening concludes with Gardiner and his group performing the Mass in B minor.

Despite the limitation of the Royal Albert Hall, it should be an amazing day. Tickets are valid for the whole day and booking opened yesterday. Further details from the Bach Marathon website.

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