The Gesualdo Six
Bold and powerful programme with exceptional artists for St Martin’s Easter Festival
7-18 April, St Martin-in-the-Fields
St Martin-in-the-Fields presents a rich series of concerts for Easter, underpinning its growing reputation for bold, high-quality programming at the landmark central London venue.
At the heart of the Easter Festival is a rare performance of Arvo Pärt’s Passio with The Gesualdo Six joined by St Martin’s own choirs and members of the London Mozart Players. This 1989 retelling of Christ’s passion is widely regarded as a modern masterpiece of great serenity, atmosphere and emotional sincerity and promises to be an extraordinary focal point of the Festival. The Guardian said of the work “… the piece steadily unfolds the familiar tapestry of ancient suffering at the heart of Christian identity. Even for an atheist, it can be profoundly moving, unsettling and humbling.” [12 Apr].
In another piece of bold programming, virtuoso saxophonist Christian Forshaw joins vocal ensemble Tenebrae for a different sort of emotionally-charged evening of music for Easter. The concert ‘Drop, slow tears: A Meditation for Choir and Sax’ combines ancient and modern to stunning effect with the endlessly expressive sound of Forshaw’s saxophone, reflecting, improvising and weaving with Tenebrae’s choral resonance, bringing new colour and context to Passiontide music by Gibbons, Tallis and Hildegarde of Bingen among others. The concert also launches a new album from Forshaw and Tenebrae on Signum Classics [9 Apr].
The Easter Festival begins with multi-award-winning virtuoso chamber choir Ex Cathedra with a concert called ‘Music of Heartbreak and Healing’, featuring poignant baroque works such as Scarlatti’s Stabat mater and the famous Prelude from J. S. Bach’s Cello Suite No. 1 with cellist Andrew Skidmore. Featuring other pieces by Purcell, Monteverdi and Lotti, this concert will celebrate the sublime works of the Baroque and early Classical period, both choral and instrumental [7 Apr].
J S Bach’s St John Passion is given a traditional Good Friday performance in this great London Church by its own professional chamber choir, St Martin’s Voices conducted by Andrew Earis who are joined by the London Mozart Players forthe power, drama and undimmed glory of Bach’s masterpiece[15 Apr]. St Martin’s Voices return on Holy Saturday for a performance of Allegri’s Miserere, alongside James MacMillan’s contemporary setting of the same text [16 Apr].
The St Martin’s Easter Festival comes to a glorious close with a period-instrument performance of Handel’s Easter Oratorio La resurrezione, with Laurence Cummings, the London Handel Orchestra and a glittering line-up of soloists including Helen Charleston, Ed Lyon, Rachel Redmond, Callum Thorpe and Nardus Williams. Written especially for performance on Easter Monday, this rarely-heard masterpiece features some of Handel’s most remarkable music. La resurrezione is presented in partnership with the London Handel Festival and as well as closing St Martin’s Festival also brings the 2022 London Handel Festival to its end. [18 Apr]