Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment

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Further reading: Lisa Beznosiuk

Wed Feb 6 2019

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For every concert in our Southbank Centre series, we ask one of our players to write a little note for audience members to read as they leave the concert hall.

Here’s what our Principal Flute, Lisa Beznosiuk, wrote about being the lone flute in Mozart’s Symphony No. 40, as performed on Monday 4 February 2019 at Royal Festival, and on tour around Europe.

“It is uniquely thrilling to be the lone flute player in a performance of Mozart 40. All the other wind parts are written for pairs of instruments, the strings are similarly paired – violins 1+2, cellos and basses, and the richly divided violas at the start.

So the flautist’s role feels like that of a musical chameleon; sometimes a colour blending with violins or winds, elsewhere breaking into tender solo sighs or joyful frolics (often paired with the first bassoon in this work). After the bad-tempered Minuet it is blissful to blend with the other winds in the peaceful and optimistic trio – soaring high in an oasis of G Major, what a relief! Then it’s back to the turmoil of G minor… though the flute has the last cheeky word.

My favourite moment is at the recap of the first movement, where the orchestra, having almost torn itself apart in agonising screams, seems to surrender to tragedy; the flute leads a heart-breaking downward chromatic slide back to the inevitable.”

One Comment

  • That’s a lovely idea. Pity we didn’t get those thoughts before rather than after the concert so we could have listened to the piece with different ears. I was delighted to see some mujsicians came to join us in the OAE Friends area on level 4 during the interval. I hope that will continue at future concerts. It was, as ever, an excellent concert. Many thanks.

    Di Allison Wed Feb 6 2019