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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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Handel: What’s the appeal?

Fri 3 Jun 2011


In this latest video OAE violinist and musicologist Roy Mowatt explores what gives Handel’s music its mass, immediate appeal:


Join us tomorrow for A celebration of Handel, live at the Queen Elizabeth Hall.

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In rehearsal with Roy Goodman and Robin Ticciati

Wed 11 May 2011

with Roy Goodman and pianist Artur Pizarro

A few pictures snapped by our Intern Georgina of the OAE in rehearsal last week with two conductors – Roy Goodman rehearsing us at the Queen Elizabeth Hall for that evening’s performance of Mozart, Beethoven and Schubert, and Robin Ticciati at the helm in rehearsal for Glyndebourne’s Don Giovanni.

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Artur Pizarro: Speed Interview

Tue 3 May 2011

Artur Pizarro, photo taken by Sven Arnstein

We’re currently performing Beethoven’s 4th Piano Concerto with soloist Artur Pizarro – with him making his period instrument debut with us. Catch it at the Queen Elizabeth Hall in London tomorrow – and in the mean time have a read of his Speed Interview with us:

What/when was your big breakthrough?
Well, I’ve been playing the piano all my life and always with the focus on a career as a soloist so the process has been long and gradual but if I have to highlight a moment it would definitely be winning the Leeds Piano Competition in 1990. I was just back in Leeds to play for Dame Fanny Waterman’s 90th birthday party and it was amazing to see all the friendly faces who have supported me in the last two decades! An amazing experience!

What do you fear the most?
Stupidity and cruelty, point blank!!!

Which mobile number do you call the most?
My manager Tom Croxon, who else??

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From a dream to revolution. First Reviews

Wed 9 Feb 2011

First reviews and bloggers are in after our concert at the Queen Elizabeth Hall last night:

Independent (five stars!)

Classical Source

Orpheus Complex

Also some coverage ahead of our debut concert in Sheffield:

Sheffield Telegraph

Remaining concerts in this tour in Sheffield (10 Feb) and Basingstoke (12 Feb)

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One down, three to go!

Wed 9 Feb 2011

Last night saw the first of our From a dream to revolution concerts, at the Queen Elizabeth Hall. It kicked off our green tour, and also saw our very first live stream take place (let us know what you thought if you saw it). The concert got a great reception from a sold out hall, and today sees a slightly tired team back in the office, and the Orchestra speeding up to the Lake District on the train for tonight’s concert in Keswick. Up in Keswick David Zinman is replaced by Eduardo Portal, who some of you may remember was our Melgaard Young Conductor last season.

Below are some pictures from last night, plus Orchestra Manager Philippa with our hired in transit van. Usually, for players with large instruments, it’s up to them to get their instruments to the venue (oviosuly we do transport them for them when we tour overseas!), resulting in many cars being driven to Bristol, Birmingham or wherever it may be. As a small Orchestra we don’t have the luxury of a big truck like the symphony orchestras do! But this time, to save carbon emissions, we’re putting all the large instruments in one van, which Philippa is (at this very moment) driving up to the Lake District. We did joke about buying her some pink fluffy dice to go with her transit van…

Next stop: Sheffield

William Norris, Communications Director

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Debut live stream – tonight!

Tue 8 Feb 2011

Tonight sees our very first live stream of a concert, direct from the Queen Elizabeth Hall at the Southbank Centre.
We’ll be ‘on air’ from 5.45pm, with the OAE Extras event when conductor David Zinamn will be interviewed by broadcaster Rob Cowan. This will be followed at 7pm by the concert itself: Mendelssohn’s Overture, Intermezzo, Nocturne and Scherzo from A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Weber’s Clarinet Concerto No.1 (with soloist Antony Pay) and then Beethoven’s Symphony No.7.

We’ll be doing a repeat of the stream this Saturday live from Basingstoke’s Anvil, starting at 7.45pm, and straight into the concert.

There’ll be live chat during the show so feel free to ask us some (easy) questions! Ceri, Megan, Zen and myself (William) will all be answering your burning OAE queries.

View the live stream here


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OAE goes green tomorrow (not literally!)

Mon 7 Feb 2011

As you might have gathered, we’re about to start our first fully fledged ‘Green Tour’ of the UK this month, kicking off with a sold-out concert at the Queen Elizabeth Hall tomorrow night (8 Feb) conducted by David Zinman, followed by a trip up to Keswick in the Lake District, Sheffield, and then back down to Basingstoke.  We’re very lucky to be able to provide a live streaming of both the London and Basingstoke concerts which will be featured on various different websites including Ustream, Youtube and Facebook (more details in our previous blog entry).

But that’s not all the eco-warriors at the OAE have been doing…

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OAE. Live and Free.

Fri 4 Feb 2011

Next week brings another OAE first – we’re doing our first ever live concert stream, in collaboration with IC247.

Our From a dream to revolution concert on Tuesday 8 February at the Queen Elizabeth hall will be streamed online live and free, starting with the pre-concert interview with conductor David Zinman at 5.45pm and then followed by the concert at 7pm.

It ties neatly into our green initaitive which accompanies next week’s tour (of which, more soon), enabling those unable to come to the concert to still enjoy it.

The concert will be streamed live here and if you use Facebook you can find the relevant event here.

The programme is:

5.45pm: OAE Extras Broadcaster Rob Cowan talks to David Zinman about his career and recordings.

7pm: From a dream to revoulution

Mendelssohn Overture, Intermezzo, Nocturne and Scherzo from A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Weber Clarinet Concerto No.1 in F minor
Beethoven Symphony No.7

David Zinman conductor
Antony Pay clarinet

You can download a free programme to accompany your listening here – this will be available from Monday 7 Feb.

Lastly, if you want to listen to this concert ‘in the flesh’ then it tours to Keswick (with Eduardo Portal replacing David Zinman) on 9 Feb, Sheffield City Hall on 10 Feb and Basingstoke’s Anvil on 12 Feb. London is now sold out but more tickets will be released at 12 noon on the day.

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Night Shift round-up

Wed 26 Jan 2011

Well, this time last week we had the latest of our late night series of events, The Night Shift at the Queen Elizabeth Hall. It really feels like the series has ‘come of age’ now, with the event being the third in the last year to sell out, and our very first sell out at Southbank Centre. It’s just sad to have to turn people away! We hope everyone who came had a great night, and we have had some great feedback on Twitter. More feedback, good or bad, is always welcome though, as it helps us improve future events.

This is a bit of a roundup from the last event, and below are some pics,  vox pops from the audience, a few Tweets, plus presenter Alistair Appleton has made a Spotify playlist of his favourite music by Mahler, for your further listening pleasure. The next one, on 4 May, is already on sale, and needless to say, we recommend early booking!


ThoroughlyGood Oh dear God. Where’s @theoae presenter? http://boo.fm/b258585
tomjennings Really enjoyed The Night Shift at Southbank Centre. @theoae doing Liszt’s Les Preludes and Mahler’s Totenfeier. Looking forward to next gig.
colinmyer At the #NightShift in the QEH on the South Bank. Translation: look how cultured I am.
thoroughlygood If Mahler’s Totenfeier represents what happens directly after death then I see little difference with a normal day at work. #thenightshift
payamtorabi‎ Night Shift with the OAE: inspirationally different approach to music. Well worth going if you get the chance.
Artyomliss‎ The Night Shift @Southbank. Is it right to be attempting to turn a classical music performance into a “facebook-style event”? Discuss…
101holidays Great performance by @theoae at the Southbank Centre last night. Love the Night Shift

Vox Pops





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Beyond Backstage at the Royal Festival Hall

Fri 17 Dec 2010

A few weeks ago members of the OAE Office team were lucky enough to have a special backstage tour of the Royal Festival Hall. Now ordinarily this wouldn’t be *that* interesting, because we all get to see backstage whenever we have a concert. But this tour went beyond backstage, past the dressing rooms into the real guts of the Royal Festival Hall!

First off we were led up to a room near the roof, where an array of antique machines were whirring away. Turns out they are original 1950’s air circulating equipment, maintaining fresh air (but not air-con) to all the backstage areas. They are so well made and reliable they didn’t need to be replaced during the hall’s recent refurb. After this we climbed up onto the roof of the hall and then through a small door into the part of the roof that sticks up above the rest. It looked like we were inside a spaceship, as every surface was covered in foil. This was in fact the air-con plant for the hall, maintaining it at a steady temperature – all this is brand new equipment as before the refurbishment the hall didn’t have any air conditioning.

Now onto one of the more fascinating/terrifying parts of the tour as we were led above the very ceiling of the Royal Festival Hall. Here we could see how the acoustic sails above the stage can be moved and sound and light equipment be lowered in. A series of metal gantries runs over the ceiling now, which was completely reonstructed during the refurbishment but looks to the observer (from below) exactly the same as before. This would have all been a good deal more scary before the refurbishment as then there were no gantries and instead technicians had to carefully slide on wooden boards over the metal struts holding the ceiling ups. One slip and their legs would have gone straight through the horsehair and plaster ceiling – which in any case was only tied to the metal struts with bits of cloth dipped in plaster! Luckily in 50 years there were no accidents. The last two sections of ceiling have been left as they were and you can see how fragile they are. As we walked over the roof you could glimpse the hall below, which personally I found pretty terrifying!

After this we went to the ‘follow spot’ area at the back of the hall to see the

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Ask Vlad!

Wed 1 Dec 2010

Next month, our Principal Artist Vladimir Jurowski returns to us to conduct a boundary pushing (for a period instrument orchestra) Symphonic Enlightenment programme of Mahler, Wagner and Liszt. There’s a performance in the Royal Festival Hall on 21 Jan, a Night Shift at the Queen Elizabeth Hall on 19 Jan, and should you live in Paris, a performance there on 22 Jan.

On Monday, our intrepid Digital Content Officer, Zen, will be catching up with Vladimir to interview him in advance of his concerts with us. We want to know your burning questions to put to him, so add them here as comments or over on our Facebook page. We promise to ask a selection of them, and we’ll get the video up before Christmas. You might want to ask about the programme, his career, why he works with the OAE or even why he likes the Moomins…(that will be explained in a forthcoming Speed Interview actually).

The full line up for concerts on 21 and 22 Jan is below, with the pieces included in The Night Shift indicated by a seasonal snow flake (*). (ok, it’s an asterisk…)

Wagner Prelude to Parsifal
Mahler Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen (Songs of a wayfarer), with soloist Sarah Connolly.
Mahler Totenfeier*
Liszt Les Preludes*

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The missing link…?!

Tue 9 Nov 2010

We’ve been in the press quite a bit in the past few days,  talking about Méhul’s lost symphony, which we’re performing this evening at the Queen Elizabeth Hall:

Today Programme



Whilst we were browsing for pictures of Méhul for our story, one of the office team commented on how much he looked like the English actor, Oliver Reed.  What do you think?!

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Enrique Mazzola talks about the upcoming 'French Connections' concert and the prospect of working with the OAE

Wed 3 Nov 2010

Enrique Mazzola can’t stop smiling. In a clutch of impressive debuts coming up this season – including the Oslo and New Japan Philharmonics and the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra – the young Italian conductor is particularly thrilled by the prospect of working with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, with whom he will make his debut at the Queen Elizabeth Hall in November. ‘They are full of passion and life,’ he enthuses. ‘They really know what they want.’

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The OAE staff lowdown on Cherubini

Tue 2 Nov 2010

Leading up to the OAE’s forthcoming concert French Connections at the Queen Elizabeth Hall on 9th November, we decided to play a piece from the programme to OAE office staff and film their reactions.  These are the responses from listening to Cherubini’s Overture Medée: 

Watch the Cherubini youtube clip we played them below and let us know your comments!

More info and tickets to French Connections concert on 9th November 2010 at QEH:  http://www.southbankcentre.co.uk/find/music/classical/tickets/orchestra-of-the-age-of-enlightenment-50651

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In the Green Room: Karen Robinson pics, part 5

Wed 1 Sep 2010

The final instalment of backstage pictures of the OAE by Karen Robinson. See some featured around the Southbank Centre site soon as part of a campaign highlighting the new concert season.

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Night Shift pics

Tue 8 Jun 2010

Here’s a selection of pics from our last Night Shift event which was at the Queen Elizabeth Hall on 25 May. Support for the evening came from Firefly, while the main concert featured the Orchestra playing Beethoven’s Symphony 6, with our Melgaard Young Conductor Eduardo Portal at the helm, making his public debut with us. We wrapped things up with a set from DJ Nick Luscombe. We’ll have more pics and our Night Shift ‘Pod Idol’ competition on here very soon, and if you’re a Night Shift fan keep an eye on the website as we will be announcing our special summer event in the next few weeks. All pics here are by Joe Plommer, and you can view the full gallery of pics here.

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The Night Shift 'hangover'

Wed 26 May 2010

As I write this I’m not really what I’m going to say or where this entry is going. This is a result, I think, of my Night Shift ‘hangover’. This is a curious effect as it feels much like a proper hangover, but without the causes of a normal one. Last night was late, but not that late, I drank a little but not too much. No, I think the Night Shift hangover is the result of an evening that is slightly stressful, uncertain, mixed in with a little drink and a late night, followed by an interrupted sleep full of various Night Shift related dreams.

Anyway. Last night’s event all seemed to go very well. To be honest we were a little worried that a return to our regular style of event and venue might have seemed a little anti-climactic after the Roundhouse Night Shift, but I don’t think we had need to worry. I realised that as I sat down that one of the great things about the Queen Elizabeth Hall is its intimacy, which is a great bonus. Plus we had a special guest in the audience – Goldie, it was great to see him there, I hope he comes back for more!

As ever there were a few things that weren’t quite right, that we can improve on, but that’s the case with every concert, so hopefully they get better each time! Feedback so far has been good, with some nice tweets, but more is always welcomed, positive or negative (the same goes for all our concerts, we really DO like hearing from the audience!).

If you were there you will have heard that we are hoping to announce a summer event, details will be available in all the usual places. It’s likely to be at a new venue – which got me wondering – are there any venues where you’d love to see The Night Shift take place?

I shall stop rambling now. Far more interesting gaffer tape pic to follow…

William Norris, Marketing Director

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Vivaldi review

Sat 20 Feb 2010

The first review of our Vivaldi concerts at the Queen Elizabeth Hall is now online to read.

For this complete performance of L’estro Armonico we split the music over two hour-long concerts at 6.15pm and 8.45pm, with a free talk at 7.45pm. If you were there what did you think of this arrangement? Would you like to see more short concerts like this, or varied start times? Initial reaction seems to have been positive, though obviously it works better with some better repertoire than others.

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Beethoven Symphony Series reviews – 4&7

Mon 1 Feb 2010

We kicked off our Beethoven Symphony Series on Thursday at the Queen Elizabeth Hall, with Vladimir Jurowski conducting Symphonies 4 and 7. Here’s what the press thought


Financial Times



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