Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment

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William Boyce (1711-1779)



His times: As was the case for most professional musicians at the time, the church shaped much of William Boyce’s early musical life. He sang at St Paul’s Cathedral in whose shadow he was born, before holding appointments as organist at a number of city churches and becoming Master of the King’s Music.

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Who are Abel and Arne anyway?

Tue 22 May 2012

Another OAE Extras event from the vault. In this event, recorded back on 21 November 2011, David Vickers, from the Royal Northern College of Music talks about the little-known composers Abel and Arne, and asks why we don’t know more about them.

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Everything you ever wanted to know about Abel, Arne and JC Bach

Thu 17 Nov 2011

Horn Shadow

This Saturday at the Wiltshire Music Centre, and on Monday at the Queen Elizabeth Hall, we’re teaming up with star violnist Rachel Podger for a cocnert called 1700s London and the Fab Four. The Fab Four in question are composers all active in London in the 1700s – Haydn (who you hopefully know of!), Abel, Arne and JC Bach. Now, the last three may be a little less familiar to you. So we’ve put together a few little facts about them – and if you use Spotify you can also listen to a playlist of some of the music from the concert too.

Thomas Arne, 1710-1778

– British composer
– Composed Rule Britannia
– His version of God Save the King became the National anthem
– 1741: one of the very first composers to take legal action over musical copyright issues
– Thomas & Sally
was the first English comic opera to be sung throughout without dialogue.
– Artaxerxes
was one of the most influential English operas of the 18th century

Carl Friedrich Abel, 1723-1987

– He was principal viola da gamba and cello player in the court orchestra of JS Bach
– 1748: joined Johann Adolph Hasse’s court orchestra at Dresden at the recommendation of Bach.
– Formed famous Bach-Abel concerts.
– One of his works became famous due to a misattribution: in the 19th Century a manuscript of a symphony (no.3 in E flat. K.18) in the hand of Mozart was catalogued incorrectly in a complete edition of Mozart’s works. Only later was it discovered to be by Abel.

J C Bach, 1735-1782

– son of JS Bach
– Known as London Bach/ English Bach due to his time spent in the capital.
– Noted for influencing Mozart’s concerto style.
– Father JS Bach died when JC was 15 – perhaps suggesting why it’s difficult to find similarity between their work.
– JC’s style differs from his father’s and families: Galante style (which opposed Baroque’s intricate lines) with its balanced phrases, emphasis on fluid melody and little contrapuntal complexity. It preceded the classical style and renewed interest in counterpoint.
– The symphonies in the Work list for JC Bach in the New Grove Bach Family, listed 91 works but only half, 48, are considered authentic, the remaining 43-doubtful.
-JC Bach relatively rare in concert halls but now increasingly more recognised for its quality and significance.

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November 2011 podcast now out…

Wed 16 Nov 2011

Here’s our brand-new podcast for November. As ever, it’s a packed edition. First off we speak to regular OAE collaborator, violinist Rachel Podger, about her upcoming project with us – 1700s London and the Fab Four, a concert featuring music from Haydn, Abel, Arne and JC Bach that you can hear in both London and Bradford-on-Avon. Then we catch up with Education Director Cherry Forbes backstage at the Queen Elizabeth Hall, where we find out more about her role and what the OAE Education team gets up to. Next up is OAE Co-Principal Keyboard player Steven Devine who tells us about his favourite recordings, including a VERY unusual version of Handel’s Messiah (hear a more conventional one from us on 6 Dec at the Royal Festival Hall!). Lastlywe take a look back to September, when Robert Levin joined us to perform Mozart’s Piano Concerto No.23 – in a special interview he tells us about the piece and his approach to it. Happy listening!

The podcast will soon also be available on itunes.

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