Concert

English Baroque Soloists, Monteverdi Choir

John Eliot Gardiner, conductor
Händel | Bach

The works of George Frideric Handel and Johann Sebastian Bach, presented by John Eliot Gardiner, the English Baroque Soloists and the Monteverdi Choir at the Musikfest Berlin, were composed almost simultaneously. Impressive testimony of the early work of these two great Baroque masters!

John Eliot Gardiner

John Eliot Gardiner

Photo: Sam Parker © Getty Images

The music of two extremely gifted young firebrands will be presented by the Monteverdi Choir and the English Baroque Soloists under John Eliot Gardiner at the Musikfest Berlin. George Frederic Handel spent time in Rome in 1707 at the age of 22 and aroused great enthusiasm among the leading nobles and churchmen with his extraordinary musical abilities. Albeit a Lutheran from the heartland of the Reformation, he was inundated with prestigious commissions to compose music in the hub of Catholicism: He wrote the great psalm setting “Dixit Dominus” for a solemn Vespers music in the church of Santa Maria in Monte Santo in the Piazza del Popolo, and the solo cantata “Donna che in ciel” for a memorial service in the church of Santa Maria in Ara Coeli on Capitoline Hill.

That same year, Johann Sebastian Bach, also 22 years old, was ambitiously pursuing his musical career more than 1,000 kilometres to the north. Dissatisfied with his previous position in Arnstadt, he applied for the vacant organist position at the Blasiuskirche in the Free Imperial City of Mühlhausen and, after auditioning at Easter 1707, he awarded the position. The councillors were most likely impressed not only by Bach’s virtuoso organ playing, but also by the performance of an extraordinary cantata that Bach had brought with him: “Christ lag in Todes Banden”. All seven verses of this famous Easter chorale by Martin Luther were performed in different movements. This was unheard of at the time – not only in Mühlhausen …

Concert Programme

Georg Friedrich Händel (1685 – 1759)
Donna, che in ciel di tanta luce splendi HWV 233 (1708)
Cantata for soprano, choir and orchestra

Johann Sebastian Bach (1685 – 1750)
Christ Lag in Todes Banden BWV 4 (1707)
Cantata for soloists, choir and orchestra

Georg Friedrich Händel
Dixit Dominus HWV 232 (1706/07)
Cantata for soloists, choir and orchestra

Cast

Ann Hallenberg mezzo soprano

English Baroque Soloists
Monteverdi Choir
John Eliot Gardiner conductor

A Berliner Festspiele / Musikfest Berlin event