Notes and Editorial Reviews
One of the great advocates of period-instrument performance but not, he insists a period-instrument specialist (The vital thing is to combine a knowledge of the sound world in which a composer was writing with a sense of how that music can speak to us now) he has received more Gramophone awards than any other living artist...and now Sir John Eliot Gardiner is reaching the ripe old age of 70 without any signs of letting up on his almost frenetic life in music.
He was most enthusiastic when approached by DG's president Mark Wilkinson about choosing his favourite recordings from his Universal Music catalogue, on the Archiv, Deutsche Grammophon and Philips labels, going back to the late 1970s, to mark the occasion. He came up with a challenging list of classics, ranging from Monteverdi to Stravinsky, taking in the Baroque Greats, the Viennese Classics, the Romantics and modern composers most dear to his heart. Its an overwhelmingly vocal collection, a sequence of highly dramatic musical works that faithfully reflects Gardiners musical ideals and predilections.
Sung texts and translations will be available as a digital download. The 30-CD box, in the packaging-style of the Messiaen Edition of 2008, presents the recordings in their original jackets, the 108-page booklet includes an extended interview-article (2,500 words) with Jonathan Freeman-Attwood, Principal of the Royal Academy of Music in London, recording producer and trumpet-player. As ever with Gardiner, this provides a stimulating account of his life and music.
The birthday itself falls on 20 April 2013. Around it will be a marathon concert in London's Royal Albert Hall, consisting of all the Bach Passions and Oratorios performed in a single day. Gardiner is also publishing a book on Bach.