Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment

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Andrew Watts

Bassoon

Andy Watts began his music career playing medieval and renaissance instruments and clarinet at primary school in Knaresborough, North Yorkshire, then took up the modern bassoon at the age of sixteen.

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30 Years of Breaking the Rules

Thu 19 Feb 2015

With our 30th birthday season now on sale, have a look at what the season’s curators have to say for themselves and hear Principal Artists Sir Roger Norrington and Vladimir Jurowksi explain their concerts.

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Pre-concert talk: A Touch of Brass, 25 October 2012

Fri 22 Feb 2013

Roger-Montgomery-and-Nimneh

Andrew Watts (OAE Principal Bassoon) discusses posthorns, hunting horns, sackbutts, clarino, hand-stopping, beer, harmonies, bandstands and the evening’s concert, with Martin Lawrence (Horn) and David Blackadder (Trumpet) from the OAE brass section.

This pre-concert talk was given before the A Touch of Brass concert at the Queen Elizabeth Hall at Southbank Centre on 25 October 2012.

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(Orchestra) Picks of the Season

Wed 28 Sep 2011

Horn Shadow

Following on from our staff picks below here are some from the Orchesta…

 

“My picks of the season: All of them of course….but if I really have to make a choice I’m really looking forward to the French romantic programmes. I can’t agree with Mendlessohn – I love Berlioz’s orchestration and particularly the subtle and effective ways he uses the double bass, and I can’t wait to hear what Debussy’s La Mer sounds like on period instruments. But just as exciting is the prospect of working with Laurence Cummings and the amazing energy and colour he brings to Handel and Bach, And then there’s the fab soloists like Levin, and Bostridge, and Podger, and Isserlis, and Faust and, and, and…you see I’m back where I started: all of them!

 

Cecelia Bruggemeyer, Double Bass

 

I’m very much looking forward to the Glory of Venice in January. The Monteverdi Vespers in 2010 was such a wonderful project I’ve been wanting to do more of that repertoire ever since. The Choir of the Enlightenment were fantastic and Rob Howarth has real insight into that style. For the Vespers I bought a new instrument – a beautiful copy of a Spanish bajon tuned in Dorian Mode – and it hasn’t had an outing since then! I’m also really looking forward to Romeo and Juliet with a team of four bassoons all playing early 19th century French originals – that’s a real rarity!

 

Andrew Watts, Bassoon

 

The French programme with Sir Simon Rattle in June is particularly exciting and challenging for the OAE’s timpani and percussion players. Spending our lives firmly in the rhythm section in classical repertoire, through the second half of the 19th century composers started to use timpani more as a harmonic instrument and percussion to create tone colours and effects. As the OAE branches out once again into a new area, we’ve got to select our instruments carefully with Debussy’s fascination with oriental music firmly in mind.

It’s reasonable to assume that Debussy’s La Mer , with its exotic influences and soporific moods, to be solely influenced by the Mediterranean, but it’s an interesting fact that Debussy actually finished the composition during an extended stay in Eastbourne! I haven’t yet been able to identify the “kiss-me-quick”, fish ‘n’ chips and donkey rides influences of the British seaside, but I’m sure they’re there somewhere…. Definitely one for a pub quiz….!

 

Adrian Bending, Timpani

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