Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment

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Live on BBC Radio 3

Mon 24 Mar 2014

OAE

You might have seen that the beeb have their own specially erected pod, currently housing them in the Southbank Centre and we’re pleased to announce that tomorrow’s concert of Gamechangers: A Forgotten Cello will be broadcast live on BBC Radio 3 at 7pm.

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Sally Beamish in conversation with Chi-Chi Nwanoku

Thu 26 Apr 2012

Here’s the latest of our pre-concert events to go online, from back in February this year. In it, our Principal Double Bass Chi-chi Nwanoku talks to composer Sally Beamish (pictured) about her new commission for the OAE, Spinal Chords, set to text by Melanie Reid, which was performed that evening.

Don’t forget that you can listen to Spinal Chords on the BBC Iplayer until Saturday evening – 30 minutes into the programme.

Spinal Chords is part of the PRS for Music Foundation’s New Music 20×12 commissions, and part of the London 2012 Festival.

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Steven Devine: In Tune

Thu 19 Apr 2012

Steven Devine is one busy man- he’ll be on BBC Radio 3’s In Tune later today chatting about our concert with Ian Bostridge next week and performing some fabulous music from Bach. Tune in from 4.30pm!

The broadcast will be available on BBC iPlayer for seven days afterwards. He can be heard 1 hour and 21 minutes into the show.

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Spinal Chords in rehearsal

Fri 3 Feb 2012

Giving a world premiere of a new work is, understandably, a rareity for the OAE. It’s not totally unknown however, and we have performed new pieces by Mark Anthony Turnage, Jonathan Dove and Heiner Goebbels in the past. Indeed the Goebbels has become something of a signature piece for us and the London Sinfonietta, with us notching up several performances now, across Europe and the USA.

This Sunday sees us give our latest premiere, this time by Sally Beamish. It is part of Music 20×12, 20 new works commissioned by the PRS for Music Foundation for the Olympic Year. Scored for strings only, it is set to text by The Times columnist Melanie Reid, and we are very pleased to have secured actress Juliet Stevenson to narrate it.

Sally Describes the piece in her programme note:

“I have known Melanie Reid, and enjoyed her writing, ever since I moved to the Stirlingshire village where we both live, in 1996. When she had her devastating riding accident in 2010, and began writing ‘Spinal Column’ in The Times, I followed it every week.

The idea of working with her came to me when the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment asked me for suggestions for a PRS for Music Foundation New Music 20×12 Cultural Olympiad commission. To my delight, she agreed, and I received the text for Spinal Chords (her title) in May 2011.

It was hard to know how I could best serve the words, which I found deeply moving; but Melanie’s title gave me a good starting point: the idea of the chord as the backbone of the music. ‘Cords’ (without an ‘h’) also suggest strings, threads, linking and joining. I realised the role of the music should be as a backdrop for a very slow drama – that of Melanie’s ‘spinal journey’.

The decision to use an actor, rather than a singer, was to preserve the directness of the text, and of Melanie’s own voice.

I started with twelve chords, which are stated, very slowly, three times; each time in a different key. The chords themselves are closely linked to each other : each builds on the one before. The string orchestra is treated as a large chamber group, with 13 solo lines, and the chords are stated at first by broken-up groups of players, gradually consolidating into larger groups, and then with the addition of ornamentation, and later, scales. The music reflects the agonising slowness of recovery, and the gradual re-connecting as the body finds ways to heal.

The piece uses the distinctive techniques of Baroque string playing: expressive bowstrokes, with a minimum of vibrato. I also draw on the similarities between Scottish traditional ornamentation, and that of Baroque music.”

Today saw the first rehearsal of the piece, with composer Sally Beamish in attendance, and here are a few pictures of the rehearsal.

Sally will appear alongside violinist Matthew Truscott, who is directing the concert, on BBC Radio 3’s In Tune today from 5.45pm. If you miss it you can listen to it again here.

You can read more about the collaboration between Sally and Melanie in The Times here (subscribers only)

The World Premiere of Spinal Chords is at Southampton’s Turner Sims on Sunday 5 February, with the London Premiere at the Queen Elizabeth Hall on 10 […]

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Rattle: listen to it all over again here

Wed 22 Jun 2011

Last night’s concert of Mozart and Haydn with Sir Simon Rattle and the Labèque sisters was broadcast LIVE from the Royal Festival Hall by Radio 3, and it’s available to listen to all over again online here for the next 6 days. Enjoy! Listen to the concert here

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OAE Brass on 'In Tune'

Fri 8 Apr 2011

On Wednesday evening brass soloists of the OAE appeared on Radio 3’s In Tune programme, ahead of their concert this evening at Kings Place. While on the programme they played some of the music featured in the concert and also talked to host Petroc Trelawny about it and their instruments. You can view a picture of them in the studio here. As you’ll see, a rogue percussionist sneaked in…You can listen to us on the programme here – it’s about 14.30 into the show. Join them tonight at Kings Place to hear the concert (8.45pm) – and there’s even a free performance afterwards, in the brass section’s natural habitat – the bar.

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Beethoven 9 reviews

Fri 16 Apr 2010

Here’s a selection of reviews from our recent performance of Beethoven Symphony No. 9 at the Royal Festival Hall with conductor Ilan Volkov (who stepped in for Sir Charles Mackerras at the last minute). The performance is available to listen to on radio 3 here until Tuesday20 April.

The Times

Guardian

Financial Times

MusicOMH

Classical Source

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Still conducting after all these years

Thu 5 Nov 2009

I was just trawling through the net trying to find some coverage about a festival we did a few seasons ago when I came across this clanger on the Radio 3 website:

Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment : Listening in Paris , 5 th October to 24 th November 2005 at the QEH. Conductors include Jean Féry Rebel, Frans Brüggen and Vladimir Jurowski.

Unless my memory is playing up I don’t remember Maestro Rebel conducting us at the time – perhaps not surprising as he died in 1747…

William Norris, Marketing Director

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Reflections on the dream…

Tue 12 May 2009

I was hardly involved in the project back in 2005 (being merely the OAE’s office administrator at the time), but remembering how much I had hugely enjoyed watching the performance at the Royal Festival Hall I was excited that we’d be putting it all back together again.

The project was only confirmed a few months ago so it’s been a busy few months for everyone involved, not least for bottoms horn ears which have been to Sydney and back since February (No, not on little holiday, but to take part in the production with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra which was also care of the Tim Carroll/Jenny Tiramani team).

The performance was to take place in Middle Temple Hall, which it self brings multiple challenges – well out of the comfort zone of a concert hall, with no purpose-built auditorium, stage, ANY equipment or staff.  Cue the OAE team…

So, courtesy of our Production Manager Simon in came the stage, and making use of the chairs already at the hall, the hall was turned into an auditorium for 4 days.  Construction work started on Friday afternoon, and by Saturday afternoon the stage was built and ready for Philippa and myself to lay out the stage for the orchestra. 

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