Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment

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Last night’s encores…

Tue 1 Oct 2013

Anyone who was at the Royal Festival Hall last night for our season opening concert with William Christie and Sandrine Piau will know that we had a bumper number of encores for you – four in total! So here’s what they were:

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Handel’s Music for the Royal Fireworks: Shock and Awe

Mon 16 Sep 2013

George Frideric Handel is best known for restoring English music to its’ highly respected and acclaimed position, following years of compositional drought after the death of Purcell in 1695. He wrote music that was especially melodic and cosmopolitan in approach.

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Preview the year of music coming up…

Sat 7 Sep 2013

Get a taste of what we have in store for you over the year ahead with our just-released 2013-2014 trailer. In it we look back at highlights from the last 12 months and give you a taste of some of the most exciting treats we have in store for you.

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5 Things You Didn’t Know About Handel and Rameau

Fri 9 Aug 2013

On 30 September our new season kicks off with a musical explosion that brings William Christie to the Royal Festival Hall, accompanied by the critically acclaimed soprano Sandrine Piau.  Many of you will already be familiar with Handel’s Music for the Royal Fireworks, but here’s some facts you may not know about the music and composers featured in the event.

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Going on a Journey

Tue 2 Jul 2013

Thanks to everyone who came along to TOTs on Saturday, we had a great time and very much enjoyed taking you on our musical tour of Europe.  Below you’ll find a full list of the music included in the concert.  See you next time!

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Fix up, Look ♯ (How composers might look today…)

Thu 6 Jun 2013

Their music might have stood the test of time, but what about their looks? 

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Not all audiences are the same – Playlist

Mon 3 Jun 2013

Last season we proved that not all audiences are the same and with the last concert of the season taking place tonight, we put together a playlist to find out what tracks our audience and Orchestra love to listen to.  Enjoy.

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Lindsay Kemp on Handel and Lorraine Hunt Lieberson

Wed 29 May 2013

When we close our season on 3 June, all arias performed will be from roles associated with Lorraine Hunt Lieberson.  Here Lindsay Kemp discusses the performer and the history behind the music.

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Lorraine Hunt Lieberson – Performing Handel

Fri 24 May 2013

On 3 June, we take to the stage at Royal Festival Hall for a tribute to the great mezzo-soprano Lorraine Hunt Lieberson. 

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Lorraine Hunt Lieberson

Mon 13 May 2013

Lorraine Hunt Lieberson was born in San Francisco, on 1 March 1954.  She grew up in a very musical household, with both her parents being music teachers and heavily involved in opera.

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Mildly Rude?

Wed 1 May 2013

We’re very pleased to announce that we’ve added a concert entitled Mildly Rude? to our 2013/2014 Southbank Centre season.  Rounding off our Gamechangers series, it’s a opportunity to hear music from one of Britain’s unsung classical heroes, William Boyce.

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Sally Bruce-Payne – Speed Interview

Fri 12 Apr 2013

Mezzo-soprano Sally Bruce-Payne joins us at Kings Place, on 19 April, for Bach Unwrapped: Cantatas and Brandenburg Concertos.  We asked her to take our speed interview, here’s what she had to say.

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The countertenor is the highest male adult voice.  Peter Giles, a professional countertenor and noted author on the subject, defines the countertenor as a musical part, rather than a vocal style or mechanism. The countertenor range is generally equivalent to an alto range, extending from approximately G3 or A3 to E5 or G5 and they will usually have a vocal center similar in placement to that of a mezzo-soprano.

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TOTS playlist: March

Sat 23 Mar 2013

We hope you enjoyed our OAE TOTS go Wind today- it was fabulous to see so many music makers at Kings Place on a snowy Saturday morning!

If you grown-ups would like to know what you heard and maybe listen again at home, here’s a list of some of the music we played:

Anon (songs) Wind, wind, blow the clouds/Rock-a-bye baby
             Ground bass
           Rondeau from Sonata 1 Op. 2  
         Marche de La Calote
             3rd movement from Sonata in C
            Nachtigall or Bird Fancyer’s delight
            Country Dance from Water Music
          Wondrous Machine
               Sinfonia from Christmas Oratorio


If you’d like more information about OAE Education and future TOTS concerts, visit our Education section.

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Handel, Theodora CD

Price: £25.00 Buy Now

Handel Theodora 

William Christie conductor
Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment
Cast: Lorraine Hunt, David Daniels, Dawn Upshaw, Richard Croft

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Messiah on tour

Tue 18 Dec 2012

The Orchestra are currently on a festive tour- taking Handel’s Messiah to Las Palmas, Alicante and Moscow with director and OAE Principal Keyboard player, Robert Howarth.

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Messiah: audience reaction

Mon 17 Dec 2012

We finished our last concert of 2012 with a suitably festive performance of Messiah at the Royal Festival Hall on 11 December.
Afterwards, we chatted to some of the audience to find out what they thought of the concert.  Here’s what they had to say- including rocking basses, lifts and a bit of good old-fashioned Christmas spirit…

We also had some press reviews:

Classical Source
Financial Times
Music OMH

And here’s what you said via the wonders of social media.

For all upcoming concerts, visit our What’s On pages.

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Messiah: The best bits

Mon 10 Dec 2012

Music critic Andrew Mellor popped into the office last week and told us about his favourite moments in Messiah and why it’ll ‘grab you by the scruff of the neck’, before our performance of Handel’s festive oratorio tomorrow at the Royal Festival Hall, Southbank Centre.

Here’s what he had to say…

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Robert Howarth On Messiah

Fri 7 Dec 2012

Co-Principal Keyboardist Robert Howarth talks about what the OAE brings to Handel’s epic masterpiece.

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A Massive Messiah?

Wed 5 Dec 2012

Messiah has long fascinated those musicians who peer into musical history, largely because it healthily challenges most of our preconceived notions of ‘faithfulness to the score’ and ‘authenticity’. What, for example, is the right way to perform an ‘authentic’ Messiah? The way Handel performed it in Dublin or London? After all, there must have been striking differences in content and execution even between these chronologically close performances.

With that proviso, it’s fascinating to examine just how far Handel’s score was massaged after its initial airing. Even during the composer’s lifetime the work started to become popular with large choruses, the accompanying orchestra slowly enlarging so as not to be drowned out. In 1784 a performance was arranged in Westminster Abbey to mark 25 years since Handel’s death with a combined army of over 275 singers and 250 instrumentalists. The latter beat on three timpani and blew down six trombones, twelve horns and twelve trumpets – most of them phantom parts that Handel never wrote.

Five years after that Mozart had a go at ‘retouching’ Messiah, adding parts for flutes, clarinets, trombones and horns. And he couldn’t have claimed he needed more power in the band to balance a large chorus, because the performance in question involved a choir of only twelve!

By 1857 London had grown out of Messiahs involving piddling little orchestras in the 200s, and mounted a performance of the work at the Crystal Palace with an orchestra of 500 and a chorus that weighed in at over 2,000. A decade later those figures were spinning even further out of control, with an impatient George Bernard Shaw begging, prophetically, that a performance in a medium-sized hall be given with ‘a capable chorus of twenty singers’ so that he could ‘hear the work properly just once’ before he died. A century on, however, the supersize Messiah wasn’t extinct. Malcolm Sargent’s 1959 EMI recording of the work from Liverpool sounds magnificent with symphonic strings and warming horns, but it was probably a dying breed. These days Messiah is almost universally downsized. Do the benefits of clarity and focus outweigh those of grandeur and mass-involvement? Now there’s a subject for vigorous debate.

We’ll be performing Handel’s grand oratorio at the Royal Festival Hall on 11 December (sorry, we can’t quite fit 2000 singers into the hall…)

And thanks to Andrew Mellor for this great article.

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