Photo: Loveless (Wikipedia)
John Eliot Gardiner has been interested in historical performance for many years, first exploring the work of Claudio Monteverdi with the founding of the Monteverdi Choir in 1977. More recently, that interest has pushed the boundaries of “early music” well into the nineteenth century with his founding of the period instrument Orchestre Révolutionaire et Romantique.
In 2012 the Soli Deo Gloria label released a live recording of Gardiner conducting that same orchestra in Brahms’ Ein deutsches Requiem. He uses instruments that were favored by Brahms and reconfigures the size and layout of the orchestra; and he searched for hints about forgotten playing styles.
To the 21st century ear, the playing seems akin to what we now perceive as a classical playing style, historically speaking, certainly more inflected and less legato than a contemporary modern orchestral sound.