Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment

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Introducing Handel’s Organ

Thu 29 Nov 2018

Our Principal Artist John Butt introduces a spectacular bespoke chamber organ, built to recreate the sounds of Handel’s era.

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Rehearsing Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis | Vaughan Williams

Fri 9 Nov 2018

“It’s been really inspirational for the start of this project.”

Leader Margaret Faultless gets her hands on the original concert programme for the premiere of Ralph Vaughan Williams’ Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis at Gloucester Cathedral on September 6, 1910.

Hear us play it before Brahms’ Requiem with Marin Alsop:

Saturday 10 November, 2018, The Anvil, Basingstoke

Sunday 11 November, 2018, Southbank Centre, London

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Individual or society? Heart or heart? Conform or rebel?

Mon 5 Nov 2018

Individual or Society?
Head or Heart?
Conform or Rebel?
Laws or Freedoms?
Secular or Sacred?

These questions about how to live a good life challenged composers such as Bach, Brahms and Mozart as much as they challenge us now.

Our 2018-19 season of concerts at Southbank Centre features the music these composers wrote in response to these questions, sometimes overtly and sometimes indirectly.

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What is Chamber Music?

Wed 19 Sep 2018

The term ‘chamber’ is often used to describe bands of various sizes, from string quartets to medium-sized orchestra. But what does ‘chamber music’ really mean? And where did it come from?
Our Chief Executive Crispin Woodhead explains.

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Introducing Beethoven’s Contrabassoon

Wed 22 Aug 2018

What is this big beast of the orchestra, and where did it come from?

David Chatterton introduces the contrabassoon as heard in Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony and Haydn’s Creation.

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Introducing the Baroque Double Bass

Fri 10 Aug 2018

‘A whole hillside of sheep goes into making the bottom string’.

Cecelia Bruggemeyer, our long-time double bass player, introduces its baroque ancestor.

NB

Violone: literally ‘big viol’ ; a general term used to refer to baroque bass instruments of various sizes and tunings

Bass:
1. a general word for a non-specified bass instrument or bass line
2. shorthand for double bass

Double-bass (Eng.), Contrebasse (Fr.): a bass stringed instrument that sounds an octave lower than the written pitch

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Introducing Mozart’s Fortepiano

Thu 19 Jul 2018

“It really changes the way we think about the music”.

Our Co-Principal Keyboard, Steven Devine, introduces the predecessor of the modern piano, the fortepiano.

It’s the type of instrument Haydn, Mozart and the young Beethoven would have known and composed for.

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Why is it called the Surprise Symphony? The secret of Haydn’s success

Mon 9 Jul 2018

Haydn’s Surprise Symphony isn’t just one dramatic moment. Our Chief Executive Crispin explains why Haydn is the ‘King of Symphonies’.

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The Science of Attraction

Mon 18 Jun 2018

Is love what you think it is?

Our Baroque dance spectacular, Dangerous Liaisons, tells a classic love story. But in the Baroque era, composers were influenced by a very different theory of why people fell in love than we have now.

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A lost art: music in silent film

Mon 14 May 2018

Why did silent films have music? How do orchestras perform to silent films?

We asked Ben Winters (senior lecturer in music at the Open University and expert on music in films) to explain.

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Introducing Haydn’s oboe

Fri 4 May 2018

“I always feel that playing these instruments is like doing a tight-rope walk without any kind of safety net…”

Our co-principal oboe Dan Bates introduces the instrument that composer Joseph Haydn (1732-1809) would have been familiar with.

Hear Dan perform at our next Turning Points event at Kings Place, Kings Cross, London:

Sat 12 May 2018
First and Last of a Great Genius
Haydn Symphony no. 1 Haydn Symphony no. 104 London

Find out more

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Der Rosenkavalier

Fri 20 Apr 2018

We’re going to the cinema for a recreation of a remarkable cinema event that first took place in London in 1926.

See the silent film version of the great opera Der Rosenkavalier, while we play live the soundtrack Richard Strauss wrote to accompany the film.

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Introducing Mozart’s Horn

Mon 16 Apr 2018

The first of a new series of videos exploring the instruments of the ‘classical’ era (1750-1820).

Principal Horn Roger Montgomery looks at the instrument that would have been used to perform Mozart’s horn concertos.

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Mozart’s naughty notes

Thu 12 Apr 2018

Mozart illustrated the score for the Rondo from his Horn Concerto No.1 with a series of naughty notes and jokes aimed at his horn player friend, Joseph Leutgeb.

Read the notes as we perform it at Conway Hall with our Principal Horn Roger Montgomery.

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Mark Padmore explores Bach’s St Matthew Passion

Mon 26 Mar 2018

“It’s designed to disturb. It should get under the skin and worry us.”

Mark Padmore explores Bach’s St Matthew Passion, and the advantages of performing it without a conductor.

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Behind the scenes with Nicola Benedetti

Mon 5 Feb 2018

“Challenging in different ways but so enjoyable.”

Nicola Benedetti chats about performing Beethoven on period instruments as she joins us on tour around the UK and US.

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Symmetry in music: Particle physicist Tara Shears

Thu 4 Jan 2018

Professor Tara Shears came to talk to us about antimatter as part of our Bach, the Universe and Everything series at Kings Place. We learnt there is more connecting Bach and particle physics than you might imagine.

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What is a Cantata?

Fri 24 Nov 2017

What exactly is a Cantata?

Bach wrote over 200 of these mini-operas in his role as Cantor at various churches. Their sheer volume and unfamiliarity might seem overwhelming, but don’t let that put you off. Our co-principal keyboard Steven Devine explains all as he accompanies soprano Rowan Pierce in Bach’s Cantata Weichet nur, betrübte Schatten (Yield now, troubling shadows) BWV202.

 

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Soprano Louise Alder gives her thoughts on Handel’s Semele

Wed 18 Oct 2017

“I think there’s a fine line between healthy love and manic obsession, so perhaps she’s crossing into it..” Soprano Louise Alder chats about her role as Semele in Handel’s provocative opera.

Handel’s Semele, Wed 18 October 2017
Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall
Book now

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Is love what you think it is?

Wed 4 Oct 2017

Is love what you think it is? Ahead of our performance of Handel’s Semele at the Royal Festival Hall on Wed 18 October, 2017, we asked social philosopher Roman Krznaric how audiences would have viewed Semele’s story differently through the ages.

Roman Krznaric is joined by the OAE’s Martin Kelly for the pre-concert talk from 6pm in the Level Five Function Room.

Get tickets

Roman is author of The Wonderbox and Carpe Diem Regained – see romankrznaric.com.

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