Sir John Eliot Gardiner’s personal curation of Easter Choral music inspired by his family's annual Easter Play at his home in Springhead, Dorset. A companion to the Monteverdi Choir’s 1998 recording Once as I remember, which told the story of the Springhead Christmas Play. Structured around a series of tableaux, narrating through a combination of the different Gospel accounts, it is a dramatic retelling of the Resurrection story, employing disparate musical styles and frequent shifts of focus and perspective, all held together by the creative vision of a Dorset mother and her son. He writes: “This personal selection of music for Easter from the 11th to the 20th centuries tells the story of the Resurrection and Christ’s appearances to hisRead more disciples. It is based on my experience of compiling and directing the music for a mimed Easter play, performed in village churches in Dorset every year between 1963 and 1984, the brainchild of my mother, Marabel Gardiner, to whose memory this recording is dedicated.”
Following on from the Christmas disc, Once As I Remember,, set down over 20 years ago, Sir John Eliot Gardiner has now also preserved the musical side of the Easter tradition at Springhead, the location of hthe Gardiner family home of his youth.
The performances are excellent in every respect, as you’d expect from this source. The recording is likewise very good indeed. The documentation is up to this label’s usual high standards. In particular, the Christopher Webb's notes are uncommonly interesting. The appeal of the booklet is enhanced by the inclusion of a number of informal photographs taken during the preparation and performance of the Easter play. These give a delightful feel for the enterprise.
This is a fine and thoughtful musical celebration of Easter – and of a local community.