“Its sound is very soothing, plaintive and I think slightly enigmatic”.
Our co-principal oboe Katharina Spreckelsen explores the mystery of the peculiar looking baroque instrument, the oboe da caccia.Read More
Why play a new instrument when we make music for old instruments?
Our Principal Horn Roger Montgomery performs a section from Schumann’s showstopping Konzertstück for Four Horns, and introduces a new ‘19th century-style’ horn. This instrument has valves, which makes performing such challenging repertoire possible.
Hear it in our upcoming concerts with Sir András Schiff, also featuring Brahms’ blockbuster piano concertos. Find out moreRead More
“People complain a lot about the space that I take up”.
Lutenist Elizabeth Kenny explains how and why the theorbo was developed in the 17th century, what it was used for, and what it’s like to carry it around on the tube.Read More
“This is the clarinet that Mozart would have expected to hear when he wrote for it.”
Our Principal Clarinet Antony Pay takes us through the staple instrument of the time – the 5 key clarinet, and shows us the type of basset clarinet he believes enables you to play Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto best.Read More
Our Principal Artist John Butt introduces a spectacular bespoke chamber organ, built to recreate the sounds of Handel’s era.Read More
“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, LondonRead More
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.Read More
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.
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.Read More
‘A whole hillside of sheep goes into making the bottom string’.
Cecelia Bruggemeyer, our long-time double bass player, introduces its baroque ancestor.
Violone: literally ‘big viol’ ; a general term used to refer to baroque bass instruments of various sizes and tunings
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 pitchRead More
“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.Read More
Haydn’s Surprise Symphony isn’t just one dramatic moment. Our Chief Executive Crispin explains why Haydn is the ‘King of Symphonies’.Read More
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.Read More
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.Read More
“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 moreRead More
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.Read More
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.Read More
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.Read More
“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.Read More
“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.Read More