Next Monday (April 1st), Baroque music lovers really would be April fools to miss out on a fantastic event being hosted by the Royal Albert Hall and presented by Sir John Eliot Gardiner – namely, the Bach Marathon, comprising nine hours celebrating the work of the ingenious composer.
Johann Sebastian Bach – a German organist, harpsichordist, violist and violinist from the Baroque period – was arguably one of the most influential composers of all time.
Some of his most famous works include Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring, Brandenburg Concerto No. 5, The Well-Tempered Clavier (a collection of 48 preludes and fugues) and the St. Matthew Passion – which is incidentally being performed tomorrow in St George’s Church in Hanover Square as part of the London Handel Festival.
Fans of classical music who like to seek out London deals to make sure they get their money’s worth from trips will not be disappointed by this veritable smorgasbord of Bach delights.
The Monteverdi Choir and English Baroque Soloists will be joined by a whole host of talents for the day such as violinist Viktoria Mullova, cellist Alban Gerhardt, pianist Joanna MacGregor and organist John Butt.
As well as music, the programme boasts a series of distinguished guest speakers including cellist Matthew Barley, psychologist Tamar Pincus, pianist Julian Joseph and author Paul Elie, amongst others.
The conductor, Sir John Eliot Gardiner, is one of the most distinguished in the country, with numerous impressive accolades to his name including two Grammy Awards for Best Choral Performance (1994) and Best Opera Recording (1999), as well as being named a Chevalier de la Legion d’honneur in 2011.
Gardiner will be celebrating his 70th birthday next month, which makes this event all the more poignant for him, as he explains how some of the main milestones in his life have been in some way connected with Bach’s music. As he went on to say: “To spend an entire day in the company of fellow musicians, writers and scientists to perform and discuss the music of this supreme composer whose music lights our lives more than 300 years after his death is the best birthday present I could hope for.”
There could be no more suitable conductor to helm the day. According to the Times: “No one conducts Bach like John Eliot Gardiner.”