Of the many names in the world of early music, John Eliot Gardiner, or “Jiggy,” as he’s affectionately known, stands out for his leadership, interpretations, and vision.
The Monteverdi Choir was formed by John Eliot Gardiner in 1964 while still an undergraduate at Cambridge University. For over forty years now he has maintained the ensemble on an international stage with varied repertoire from the Renaissance to the 20th century. Of the many composers whose music he’s championed, Henry Purcell may be one he holds special affection for.
Nearly fifteen years after the founding of the Monteverdi Choir, Gardiner created the English Baroque Soloists, a period instrument chamber orchestra designed to accompany large-scale choral works. In 2000, they performed all 198 of Bach’s sacred cantatas in over sixty European churches. An ambitious accomplishment, to say the least.
Gardiner has also ventured into strictly instrumental music. Of the most memorable was a recording of Mozart’s piano concertos with fortepianist Malcolm Bilson. The collaboration turned out to be very special, since a complete recording of these pieces had yet to be done on period instruments.
A third ensemble was formed by Gardiner in 1990 to tackle the vast 19th-century repertoire for orchestra, and thus the Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique was born.
Our new release this week features the violin music of Jean Marie Leclair. Baroque violinist Simon Standage is accompanied at the harpsichord by Nicholas Parle. The CD also includes additional works for solo harpsichord by some of Leclair’s contemporaries.
Here’s a video of John Eliot Gardiner direction the Montervedi Choir and English Baroque Soloists in the first chorus, “Jauchzet, frohlocket, auf preiset die Tage,” from J.S. Bach’s Christmas Oratorio: