Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment

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Playing our part in BBC 4’s Symphony

Wed 2 Nov 2011

Back in June the OAE spent 2 days filming in Christchurch Spitalfields with Sir Mark Elder, the results of which will be premiered on BBC Four this Autumn.

 

We were approached late last year by the BBC Classical Music TV team who were amidst plans to produce a programme for BBC four, tracing the evolution of the musical genre of the Symphony.  OAE would be used to show examples from earlier repertoire, and other orchestras (the BBC Symphony and the Halle) would take over at the appropriate point in the repertoire.  Whilst the OAE does perform late 19th Century and early 20th Century music at times, it was probably fairer to let a full Symphony orchestra do this but… ;).  The filming dates were held in OAE’s diary, straight away (probably the only 2 free days we had in June in amongst Glyndebourne and festival dates), but as is often the case with the recording industry (whether audio or visual) the absolute final schedule was not settled upon for quite some time.

 

This March we had a recce of Spitalfields Church with the whole BBC production team, and were delighted that it would work for the shoot, as it is such a stunning building.  Not much parking outside for the BBC guys, and a slightly complicated get-in for any keyboard instruments that we were using, but as Spitalfields Church is just beautiful, it was definitely worth accommodating any issues and I am sure it will make an excellent backdrop for the programme.

 

Musically OAE’s examples ranged from Stamitz, through Haydn, Mozart, Schubert, Beethoven and Berlioz.  All of which require different sized orchestras… The production team had a challenging job slotting the schedule together so that we didn’t have players hanging around when they weren’t needed, and I think the schedule must have had about 10 reincarnations, and therefore 10 variations on the budget. Anyway, we got there in the end, and I’m looking forward to seeing the end result on TV.

 

Ceri Jones, Projects Director

 

Symphony, with the first two programmes featuring the OAE, starts on Thursday 4 November on BBC 4 at 9pm.

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Lunchtime with the OAE

Wed 4 May 2011

St George's concert hall, Bristol - venue for our lunchtime concerts

One of the recurring fixtures in the OAE’s diary is our annual series of lunchtime concerts at St George’s, Bristol, one of our most regular venues out of London.

There are usually four lunchtime concerts in the series, given by the soloists of the Orchestra, which then go on to be broadcast by BBC Radio 3, and are also often performed elsewhere too – for example as part of our recent Baroque. Contrasted. festival at Kings Place. Indeed, if you scroll down to our April postings you’ll find some info on the composers featured – one example here.

The most recent set of these concerts is being broadcast this week by BBC Radio 3, and the music includes pieces by well known Baroque names such as Bach and Handel, alongside some real rarities. Of course, though they’re broadcast at lunchtime, through the BBC’s Listen Again feature you can listen anytime within a week after the broadcast date.

The BBC also produced a short film to accompany the concerts which features rehearsal footage plus interviews with musicians Margaret Faultless (violin) and Steven Devine (keyboard)

The programmes are being broadcast at 1pm Tuesday to Friday this week, and you can listen to them on the links below:

Tuesday – Refelctions on the Grand Tour – music for Cornetts and Sackbuts
Wednesday – Bach, Handel and Purcell – Wind soloists of the OAE
Thursday – Vivaldi and Corelli – String soloists of the OAE
Friday – Handel, Vivaldi and Coreli – Wind and String soloists of the OAE

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