Monteverdi Choir and English Baroque Soloists
Tony CooperSnape Maltings (Aldeburgh Festival)Tony Cooper
Snape Maltings (Aldeburgh Festival)
A long-overdue visit, Sir John Eliot Gardiner brought the Monteverdi Choir and English Baroque Soloists to Snape Maltings for the first time in a decade and received a rapturous reception as he took his place on the platform. The applause was thunderous to say the least and wild at the end.
A master of the baroque repertoire, he delivered a well-conceived and well-executed performance of this monumental and well-loved work that Bach compiled from pieces he had composed at various times throughout his life. It was completed in 1749 a year before his death.
The soloists - all from within the ranks - gave a marvellous account of themselves while the combined musical forces were exhilarating and exciting in the big set pieces, thrilling a packed and appreciative house who squeezed into every seat.
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But between such glorious and commanding choral movements a host of attractive arias and ensemble work proved just as rewarding, highlighting the work's intimacy as well as Snape Maltings' brilliant acoustics.
This was exemplified by the flute obbligato in the Gloria's Domine Deus played so lyrically and beautifully by Rachel Beckett and Christine Garratt, subtly matching the vocal skills of the soprano and tenor soloists.
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Their voices were an ideal match for one another and they delivered Bach's contrapuntal lines with elegance and grace while Anneke Scott highlighted the score's individual grace and beauty with some detailed and controlled horn playing in the bass aria, Quoniam tu solus Sanctus.