Under the patronage of HRH the Prince of Wales
ORCHESTRE RÉVOLUTIONNAIRE ET ROMANTIQUE
Founded in 1989 by Sir John Eliot Gardiner, the Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique aims to bring the stylistic fidelity and intensity of expression of the renowned English Baroque Soloists to the music of the 19th and early 20th centuries.
From its inception the ORR has won plaudits internationally, notably for its interpretation of the works of Beethoven, which it performed extensively and recorded for Deutsche Grammophon in the 1990s. The orchestra has recently returned to this repertoire with successful tours of Beethoven symphonies and Missa Solemnis in Europe and the USA, including a live recording of Missa Solemnis by the company’s own record label, Soli Deo Gloria.
The orchestra has also been acclaimed for its interpretations of all the major early Romantic composers, starting with Hector Berlioz. They performed and recorded his Symphonie Fantastique in the hall of the old Paris Conservatoire, where the very first performance took place in 1830. In 1993, together with the Monteverdi Choir, the orchestra gave the first modern performances of the newly rediscovered Messe Solennelle. They later joined forces to perform L’Enfance du Christ at the Proms as well as the first complete staged performances in France of Berlioz’s masterpiece Les Troyens, given at the Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris.
Other critically acclaimed initiatives have included a project entitled ‘Schumann Revealed’ given at the Barbican, including recordings of the complete Schumann symphonies and Das Paradies und die Peri. In 2007/8 ‘Brahms: Roots and Memory’ given at the Salle Pleyel and the Royal Festival Hall, setting Brahms’ four symphonies in the context of his most significant choral works and music of the 16th to 19th centuries that Brahms himself transcribed and conducted.
Operas by Weber (Oberon and Le Freyschütz), Bizet (Carmen), Chabrier (L’Etoile), Verdi (Falstaff) and Debussy (Pelléas et Mélisande) have also been performed in new productions in France, Italy and London.
Most recently the ORR has been focusing again on Berlioz, performing Berlioz Symphony Fantastique and Beethoven Symphony no. 5 at the BBC Proms 2015, followed by performances at the Edinburgh International Festival and Festival Berlioz of Berlioz Lélio and Symphony Fantastique. In 2016 they returned to the Proms with Berlioz Roméo et Juliette as part of Shakespeare 400. More recently the orchestra toured a programme of Beethoven, Schubert and Brahms with acclaimed concert pianist Kristian Bezuidenhout.
Last year in 2017, the focus for the orchestra was Berlioz with performances of La Damnation de Faust at the BBC Proms and Festival Berlioz.
THE ENGLISH BAROQUE SOLOISTS
The English Baroque Soloists have long been established as one of the world’s leading period instrument orchestras. Throughout their repertoire, ranging from Monteverdi to Mozart and Haydn, they are equally at home in chamber, symphonic and operatic performances and the distinctive sound of their warm and incisive playing is stately recognizable.
The ensemble has performed at many of the world’s most prestigious venues, including La Scala in Milan, the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam and the Sydney Opera House. During the course of the 1990s they performed Mozart’s seven mature operas and recorded all of his piano concertos and mature symphonies.
The English Baroque Soloists are regularly involved in joint projects with the Monteverdi Choir, with whom they famously took part in the trailblazing Bach Cantata Pilgrimage in 2000, performing all of Bach’s sacred cantatas throughout Europe. They also toured Gluck’s Orphée et Eurydice in Hamburg and Versailles, following a staged production at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, in collaboration with the Hofesh Shechter Dance Company.
Highlights in 2016 included tours of the Bach Magnificat in E flat, Lutheran Mass in F major, and Cantata Süßer Trost with the Monteverdi Choir in venues around Europe, and Bach’s St. Matthew Passion as well as a mixed program of Mozart Symphonies 39-41, Requiem and Great Mass C Minor.
Their most recent recording is Bach’s St Matthew Passion, which was released by Soli Deo Gloria in March 2017.
THE MONTEVERDI CHOIR
Founded by Sir John Eliot Gardiner as part of the break-away period instrument movement of the 1960s, the Monteverdi Choir has always focused on bringing a new perspective to their repertoire. With a combination of consummate choral technique and historically-informed performance practice, its real difference as an ensemble lies in its ability to communicate music to their audiences worldwide. The Choir goes beyond the music, seeking to make the visual impact of its performance enhance the experience, and even exploiting the venues themselves in the search for immediacy and drama. This approach has led the Monteverdi Choir to be consistently acclaimed over the past 50 years as one of the best choirs in the world.
Among a number of trailblazing tours was the Bach Cantata Pilgrimage in 2000, during which the Choir performed all 198 of JS Bach’s sacred cantatas in more than 60 churches throughout Europe and America. The entire project, recorded by the company’s record label Soli Deo Gloria, was hailed as “one of the most ambitious musical projects of all time’ by Gramophone magazine. The Monteverdi Choir has over 150 recordings to its name and has won numerous prizes.
The Choir is also committed to training futures generations of singers through the Monteverdi Apprentices Program. Many Apprentices go on to become full members of the Choir, and former Choir members have also gone on to enjoy successful solo careers.
Last season the Choir took part in a variety of projects across difference repertoires—from an extensive tour of Bach’s St. Matthew Passion (performed from memory) with the English Baroque Soloists, to Berlioz’s Roméo et Juliette at the BBC Proms to the Festival Berlioz with the Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique. Under the direction of Sir John Eliot Gardiner it also collaborated with both the London Symphony Orchestra on Mendelssohn’s Ein Sommernachtstraum and the Tonhalle Orchestra on Janáček’s Glagolitic Mass. The Choir has also participated in several staged opera productions including Le Freyschütz (2010) and Carmen (2009) at the Opéra Comique in Paris, and Les Troyens at the Théâtre du Châtelet. Most recently the Choir performed Glucks Orphée et Eurydice at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, working in collaboration with the Hofesh Schechter Dance Company.