Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment

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Canary Competition (win tickets!)

Thu Dec 22 2011

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Turns out Elgar led a pretty cool life outside of music - so cool, in fact, that we were inspired to imagine how th… twitter.com/i/web/status/1…


This New Year we’re at our Kings Place base, performing two concerts to mark the end of 2011 (on 31 Dec at 6pm and 1 Jan at 1pm). The programme contains Vivaldi’s evergreen Four Seasons, but also one real curiosity, Telemann’s Canary Cantata.  The piece was written as a tribute to Telemann’s pet song-bird, and its full title is ‘Cantata of funeral music for an artistically trained canary-bird whose demise brought the greatest sorrow to his master’. They were obviously very close! To make it even worse the beloved bird was murdered by a cat rather than dying of natural causes 🙁

Here’s a taste of the piece, in this English translation of one of the arias in the cantata:

“O woe! o woe! thrice woe!
My songbird is no more;
To whom can I my loss deplore
to whom can I my painful heartache declare?
Who will now with me my sorrow share”

Plus if you have Spotify you can listen to it here.

We have two tickets to give away to the New Years Eve performance of the concert (details here), which is at 6pm at Kings Place, London.

To be in with a chance to win, simply tell us about your favourite pet, and what you did, or would do, to mark their passing in a fitting style.  Add your entries below by midday on 29 December and we’ll announce a winner shortly after.


  • I have a pet snake named South Beach. If anything happened to SoBe I’d stage a performance of ‘Magic Flute’ in which the snake eats Tamino in the first scene, then goes on to devour Papageno, Papagena, Pamina, the Queen, her court and the entire Priesthood.

    Alton Thompson Thu Dec 22 2011
  • My favorite pet of all my life…so far…was Samuel Leopoldo…yes it is a very destinguish name…given by his grandma….family called him “the little daddy” …he was a german shepard…once he approcched a fresh pooddle to say hello in a canine way…the horrible little creature almost destroy the nose of my Samuelon…so he ran…for his nose.,,,,since then… my family was very cruel…and called him in that way..meaning…he was dump…but forme he was just a gentleman who does use his power against smaller ones…..

    Diego Thu Dec 22 2011
  • Pet cat.
    Viking burial at sea while playing Ride of the Valkyries by Wagner.

    Cyrus Parvin Fri Dec 23 2011
  • My darling pet kitten blackie was so close to my heart. I was crying in. my room and blackie could tell that I was upset from the other end of the house and she would come to me and meow and I would feel that there is hope again. She was dearest in my heart. She was hit by a car one night and I buried her with my parents and we sang shine on you crazy diamond by her grave together. We still think of her every year. I love the photo of blackie in my dads palm when we first rescued her from the street. Oh she was such a tiny kitten… My darling blackie I will savour every moment of our life together. Xx

    Deniz Ozalp Fri Dec 23 2011
  • Sergio was my dog. He was a Boxer. People asked why he was named like that and I said he could have been an Antonio, a Giuseppe or even a Salvatore.
    Sergio had an ugly face and some people were afraid when they first met him. The truth was, he was such a sweet soul, he wouldn’t have harmed a fly.
    He was one of the best goalkeepers I had the pleasure to play football with. I still have some photos of our matches.
    Like everybody else, he grew old, had arthritis and then, died. He was buried in the garden, close to the flowers, in my grandfather’s house in Sicily. No music was played then, but I think he might have liked some opera. Whenever my grandfather was trying to sing ” Nessun Dorma “, Sergio howled along. 🙂

    Stella Rodrigues Fri Dec 23 2011
  • I had a pet canary called Gosha when I was younger. In an unfortunate turn of events, he was trying to get away from a cat that got into the house and flew into the blades of a spinning fan…
    I was deeply saddened by this and wanted to commemorate my first pet the best way I could.
    I buried him deep in the ground so that other animals wouldn’t be able to dig him out, in a mini coffin that I constructed for out of wood.

    Alexander Sat Dec 24 2011
  • Pet labrador called Maggie (Margaret, when she’s been misbehaving).

    Maggie has always been rather quiet and meek, but when it comes to food, there’s nothing that stands between her and her dinner. She’s also pretty sneaky and will grab a banana (her favourite) out of your hand fast as lightning, which usually entails chasing her about the house (she loves this even more).

    So, I think it would have to be Edvard Grieg’s ‘In the Hall of the Mountain King’ being played to a slideshow of all the pictures we’ve taken of her over the years.

    George Morgan Sat Dec 24 2011
  • Wow, some really touching stories here, thanks for all your entries. After careful deliberation we’d like to award the prize of two tickets to our concert on 31 Dec to Alton Thompson and his new version of The Magic Flute. We’ll drop you a line Alton. Thank you to everyone else for sharing your stories. Happy New Year everyone!

    oae Wed Dec 28 2011
  • In homage, tickets past. My favourite pet cat Pawpaw died this year. She was a feminine black cutie, a killer killer, and a noble friend. She had six litters of kittens. She slept on my chest. To honour her, I am going to raise a black Tom cat, the most virile the world has known and drive around London unleashing this beast on the city’s soft kitties. My car will be called the Pussy Wagon, and by it my live, fast cat Pawpaw will be honoured.

    Nim Tue Jan 10 2012