John Eliot Gardiner's Monteverdi Choir was well into its sixth decade when this album appeared in 2019, and the group's continuing relevance and vigor is certainly the result in part of its willingness to undertake new kinds of projects. Subtitled Music for the Springhead Easter Play, Love Is Come Again is a personal album for director John Eliot Gardiner, especially striking in that the Monteverdi Choir's usual sound, although warm, might be called abstract. The Springhead Easter Play is not a traditional village ritual but a mime event staged at Gardiner's family home, Springhead, and originally directed by the conductor's mother. The predecessor to this release was 1998's Once As I Remember, a collection of diverse Christmas pieces united principally by the fact that the Gardiner family found each work relevant to some aspect of the Christmas celebration. For Love Is Come Again the focus shifts to Easter, but the overall feel is similar, with the Passion story recounted though pieces of various periods, from chant and folk music to contemporary works. Sample the Abendlied from the Drei Geistliche Gesänge, Op. 69, of Josef Rheinberger, which shows the choir's ability to connect with music far outside its usual field. A must for Gardiner fans, this is an unusual Easter album for any choral music listener.
AllMusic Review by James Manheim
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