To complement John Eliot Gardiner’s Prom last week (shown on BBC4: on i-Player)
with the Monteverdi Choir and English Baroque Soloists:
Both Bach and Handel were born in 1685, and this Prom featured two of their early works, composed when they were 22 years old—both for Easter, indeed. 1707 was a fine vintage.
Bach’s cantata Christ lag in Todesbanden has long been among Gardiner’s signature pieces—it features in this post, where he also comments on his training with Nadia Boulanger.
Handel’s Dixit dominus has also been a regular showcase for Gardiner’s choir and orchestra over the decades. Amidst all the virtuosity, the heart of the piece is De torrente, the ravishing duet for two sopranos—repeated as an encore in the Prom, as in this performance from 2014:
For more on Gardiner’s early experiments with baroque style, see here, under “The world of early music”; his performances appear often in the posts under A Bach retrospective. For Handel arias, click here; for Rameau, born two years before of the “class of ’85”, here.