Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment

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French Impressionists with Sir Simon Rattle: Audience Reaction

Tue 12 Jun 2012

Simon Rattle Audience reaction

We caught up with audience members after Sunday’s concert with Sir Simon Rattle and Pierre-Laurent Aimard to ask them what they thought  – here’s what they said. More photos and video from the Rattle tour coming soon.

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Berlioz’s Romeo & Juliet: Curtain call pics

Thu 12 Apr 2012

Soloists take their bows

Still eeking out the pictures from our Romeo & Juliet project! Here’s a selection from the performance at the Royal Festival Hall. We don’t often photograph our concerts and rehearsals but this was such an unusual and important projct for us we really thought we should. It’ll be a long while before we play this piece again!

Pictures by Matt Wreford.

 

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Romeo & Juliet in rehearsal

Thu 5 Apr 2012

Taken us a while to put these up…but cast your mind back about 2 months and we were playing Berlioz’s huge Romeo & Juliet. Here are some pictures of us in rehearsal with OAE Principal Artist Sir Mark Elder at the Royal Festival Hall, on the morning of our evening performance there ( inbetween the Philharmonia gave a family concert, it was quite a busy day for the Festival Hall!). All pictures are by Joe Plommer and you can view the entire set over on our Flickr profile.

 

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Berlioz, Basingstoke and baguettes

Wed 29 Feb 2012

I’m sitting writing this blog on a ridiculously warm Sunday February afternoon underneath the Eiffel Tower.   Sounds glamorous?  Well actually, I do feel quite amazed and lucky to be spending my weekend this way, though the 5.50am start this morning has left me a bit out of it, as has the eight day run of concerts we’ve been doing this week…still, it’s a fairly fantastic thing when you’re invited to go to Paris with a supersize OAE and two choruses, totalling about 250 performers altogether, in a massive production of Berlioz’s Romeo and Juliet at the Théâtre des Champs Elysées.  We’ve been touring this mammoth piece in four locations this week: first at the Royal Festival Hall on 18 February (read the reviews from the night here), then to the Anvil in Basingstoke on 23 February, a Night Shift at the Roundhouse as part of the Reverb Festival on 24 February and finally Paris today.

I’ve been with the OAE for four years now and this is the first time I’ve been had the chance to go on a tour from start to finish and what a tour to experience! No two performances have been the same- the Southbank Centre night was my first real listen to the piece in full,  Basingstoke = Amazingstoke (fabulously rich sound) and I thoroughly enjoyed when Sir Mark had to wait for members of the audience to stop talking before he started Part 2- his withering look was priceless!  The Roundhouse gig was totally different – live streaming, a glass of wine and chat with conductor Sir Mark Elder created a unique atmosphere – and the final leg in Paris is sounding awesome, even though I’ve mainly been backstage, looking after the Orchestra’s belongings.  Having said that, each time I hear the piece, I still get the same feeling- a huge rush from hearing a beautifully orchestrated piece, played by a fantastic band.

Here’s a few pictures from my travels (note the slight difference in scenery!):

It’s like Daisy (an OAE cellist I chatted to on the Eurostar journey out) said:

“It’s like the difference between a supermarket apple and an organic one from the market: one is perfectly round and shiny but doesn’t taste of anything, whilst the other may have a few bumps and bruises but tastes exquisite- just like the OAE.”  Well said.

Natasha Stehr, Marketing and Press Officer

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Recent reviews: Romeo & Juliet

Mon 27 Feb 2012

Our massive Romeo and Juliet tour with over 250 performers cramming the stages in London, Basingstoke and Paris has finally come to an end, but we’re still getting some great feedback from the concerts.
If you were unlucky and missed the concert, you can still listen to it on Radio 3 here (until Sunday 4 March).

Here are the press reviews:

The Times (subscribers only)

Evening Standard

The Independent

theartsdesk.com

The Guardian

Classical Source

MusicOMH

Musical Criticism

A small selection from our Twitter feedback:

Echori Music Company ‏ @EchoriMusic
Reflecting on how awesome OAE’s performances of Romeo and Juliet are at the moment! Check them out in Paris this Sunday at 1700! @theoae

@theoae @roundhouseldn
“its like having a warm bath” >nice

Ben Gould ‏ @benanial
Heading to @roundhouseLDN for #thenightshift and @theoae! Can’t believe its been 2 yrs since their last show there, should be a cracker!!

Shelley vonStrunckel ‏ @vonStrunckel
Here at Roundhouse listing to @theOAE play Berlioz’ Romeo & Juliet. Amazing with lights, big screen & fab acoustic. Yummy sound.

Zoe Margolis ‏ @girlonetrack
At the Roundhouse waiting for @theOAE to play extracts from Berlioz’s Romeo and Juliet for #reverb2012‘s The Night Shift. *excited*

Steven Berryman ‏ @Steven_Berryman
Nice to see a pupil of mine performing in @roundhouseLDN music collective after a brill @theoae concert!

Camilla M Morris ‏ @CamillaMMorris
Berlioz concert: Extracts from Romeo & Juliet played by @theoae – Extraordinary performance by conductor Sir Mark Elder @roundhouse, Camden

We’d love to know what you thought too- post any comments below.

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Berlioz’s Romeo & Juliet: Programmes

Mon 20 Feb 2012

At Saturday’s performance of Berlioz’s Romeo & Juliet we were slightly victims of our own success. A huge surge in bookings in the last week meant we had a much larger audience than we had bargained for. This is of course wonderful, and it was fantastic to see such a packed hall, but it did mean that we didn’t have quite enough programmes to go around. If you didn’t manage to get hold of one we do apologise. However PDF’s of the main programme and the extra slip with more notes and Orhestra and Choir lists can be found on the links below.

Main Programme

Programme Slip

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Missa Solemnis audience reaction

Tue 20 Dec 2011

Back at the start of November we performed Beethoven’s epic Missa Solemnis, together with conductor Gianandrea Noseda and the Philharmonia Chorus. In this video we catch up with audience members after the concert to ask what they made of it – and there’s also some short extracts from the performance too.

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Messiah in rehearsal

Tue 20 Dec 2011

Here’s a clip we posted online on Facebook a little while back but it’s only just made it onto our website, we’ve had such a backlog of things to blog about! Anyway, it’s some rather rough and ready footage from the rehearsal of Handel’s Messiah, which we performed at the Royal Festival Hall a few weeks ago, which which we recently also took to Utrecht. We hope you’ll excuse the rather basic camerawork – oh and yes, the Trumpet player IS allowed to be reading the paper, he’s probably not got anything to play for a while!

If you live in Paris there’s still a chance to catch our Messiah as we perform it there on Thursday 23 December.

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Missa Solemnis: Reviews and reaction

Mon 7 Nov 2011

Missa Solemnis flyer

Friday saw our performance of Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis at the Royal Festival Hall. Not only was it the first time we’ve performed this piece for 15 years, it was also the first time we had worked with conductor Gianandrea Noseda. Here’s what the critics and audience made of it.

 

Reviews:

Guardian

Classical Source

BachTrack

The Times (subscribers only)

 

Twitter reaction:

 

johnsandell John Sandell

Missa Solemnis @theoae: loved it (with a couple of small reservations). Friends didn’t: “too loud”. But it’s not meant to be comfortable.

 

_mattl Matt Lewis

Disappointingly flat Missa Solemnis from @theoae last night. Muddy sound, shouty choir, general balance problems (RFH acoustics to blame?).

 

gui_arnoldo Guilherme Arnoldo

@theoae Thought Mr. Noseda was going to take flight during the ‘Gloria’ tonight: talk about energetic! Awesome performance, you guys rock 🙂

 

ryan_e_hill Ryan Hill

@NosedaG @theoae @Philchorus Thank you for a really moving performance of Beethoven’s ‘Missa solemnis’ tonight. My eyes did moisten. 🙂

 

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Zen. The man who cam. (AKA yet more on the Rattle tour)

Wed 10 Aug 2011

Important work, getting to know the orchestras with a few beers!

Yes we’re still eking out news from our Simon Rattle tour…

It was the first trip with the Orchestra for our Digital Content Officer, Zen, and here’s his account of the tour:

Often described as the ‘intrepid’ cameraman, I have to say I embarked on this trip, my first OAE tour experience, with a fair dose of trepidation. How would I fair in this close-knit orchestral group for almost 4 days – or more importantly how would they react to having a camera almost constantly in their faces?

The brief was to capture as much footage of the tour as possible and edit it down to a video of duration no greater than 2’59” (a length that was agreeable to the various venues and agents) and to get to know the players better.  A familiarity with the players is very useful when harassing them for a voxpop.  Many have already been subjected to on the spot interviews and know how I usually pounce in rehearsal breaks, but Kings Place where we often rehearse allows plenty of hiding places, not so a packed Eurostar carriage…

Getting to know the players better was something I got stuck into straight away.  The brass/percussion section took me under their wing on the first night in Brussels (a rare night off for the orchestra) confirming the stereotype with a comprehensive tour of the local bars.  I survived, but barely.  The next morning I emerged from the hotel in a daze only to see both coaches departing on their way to Luxembourg… were they trying to get rid of me already? My surname ‘Grisdale’ had been crossed off accidently along with ‘Griffiths’, Kevin our young conductor.  Nevertheless they saw me waving in a panic and let me on board.

So I made it to the Philharmonie Luxembourg, which is a beautiful concert hall in a rather bleak part of town which is largely a building site, a lot of construction going on.  The hall inside is impressive with boxes that look like mini blocks of flats.  After filming the rehearsal I sought to approach Sir Simon Rattle for a few quick words.  In a previous OAE video about CPE Bach I managed to get Sir Roger Norrington in front of the camera as he sipped his tea during rehearsal break and he happily divulged all things CPE.  This technique I wished to apply to Sir Simon Rattle.  Unfortunately it was not to be, so we agreed to postpone it to the final London date at the Royal Festival Hall.

The Labèque sisters were up for it and Katia insisted that I film them as much as possible in rehearsals etc.  However an interview was not on the cards as they were both not feeling well (really they weren’t) but they gave me their word that they would also do it at the Royal Festival Hall…

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Madonna and the OAE. Not often you see that written…

Fri 1 Jul 2011

Madonna

Last Tuesday’s concert at the Royal Festival Hall with Sir Simon Rattle was always going to be a busy night. Not only was it Sir Simon, which always brings a frisson of excitement, but we had a sold-out Royal Festival Hall, which while fantastic, is always a little stressful. We also had a plethora of different receptions going on around the venue for the various people who had supported our Silver Appeal and for our sponsors, Commerzbank. At the last moment though, an additional complication was thrown into the mix.

As you might have read previously on the blog we knew that Madonna liked the Labèque sisters, so we really did send an invite to her. Of course we didn’t think for a minute she would actually come. The day before the concert our Intern, Georgina, received a mysterious call from someone needing to make special arrangements for a VIP. They had previously been in contact with our Projects Director, Ceri, but she was now in the air en route to Dublin. So Georgina took down all the details and requests of the mysterious VIP without actually knowing who it was. Ceri was uncontactable for the next 2 hours – cue feverish speculation in  the OAE office.

As soon as Ceri landed Georgina called her. It was indeed the Queen of Pop Madonna. To use teen speak, everyone was a bit OMG.

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Rattle. Reviewed.

Thu 23 Jun 2011

Sir Simon Rattle concert at The Royal Festival Hall

Well, the reviews are in from our Rattle concert on Tuesday at the Royal Festival Hall, plus a couple from the tour too. You can read them via the links below, but here are three of our favourite quotes:

“That continuing rapport was immediately and sustainedly obvious in this delightful Haydn and Mozart concert, and all without any of the publicity overload that surrounded his Berliner Philharmoniker dates earlier in the year.

There was some Haydn in those Berlin programmes, too, but this time, working with a much smaller and more specialist band, the treatment was more authentic and enjoyable.” THE GUARDIAN (4 stars)

“It was in the two Haydn symphonies that Rattle and the OAE best showed what a triumphant partnership the two have honed in some 25 years working together” THE TIMES (5 stars)

“When this music is played by the OAE light doesn’t just dawn, it dazzles; and even more so when Sir Simon Rattle is on the podium” THE TELEGRAPH (5 stars)

Guardian

Telegraph

Times

BBC Music Magazine

Classical Source

Bach Track

Irish Times (Dublin concert)

Petite Classique (Luxembourg concert, in French)

Picture by Joe Plommer

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Rattle: the morning after the night / tour before

Wed 22 Jun 2011

Office asleep. This photo is not an accurate depiction of life in the OAE office...

Well, after five cities, four concerts, three trains, two planes and one coach our tour with Sir Simon Rattle is over. Everything culminated in a sold-out concert at the Royal Festival Hall last night (a concert that marked 25 years of the OAE!) , and not only was it sold out but we had a few added complications, not least of which being a last-minute special guest – none other than Madonna!

Today we have a slightly tired team in the office (and most probably a slightly tired Orchestra too!) but we’ve not long to catch our breath – the Orchestra is rehearsing today and tomorrow for the Glyndebourne production of Rinaldo and Friday sees our Night Shift at Village Underground.

In the coming days look out for special reports, pictures and footage from the tour, plus a full report on last night’s action-packed evening at the Royal Festival Hall.

Oh and if you want to get in early next year’s concert with Sir Simon is already on sale…

William Norris, Communications Director

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Symphonic Enlightenment – Vox Pops

Tue 1 Mar 2011

We’ve had a bit of a backlog of videos here, so these audience vox pops have been somewhat delayed. But they’re here now. After our Symphonic Enlightenment programme of Wagner, Mahler and Liszt at the Royal Festival Hall back on 21 January we asked audience members what they had made of the performance (with conductor Vladimir Jurowski and soloist Sarah Connolly). Here’s what they said:

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Launching the new season

Mon 31 Jan 2011

If you had dropped a bomb on the Royal Festival Hall last Friday, at around 11am, then you would have wiped out a very large section of London’s classical music life. Why? Well last Friday was the press launch of the 2011-2012 classical season at Southbank Centre. I’m sure to the assembled ranks of journalists that this all seemed very normal and routine, but the fact is a huge amount of work goes into not just the organisation of an event like this, but in getting the seasons of four Resident Orchestras ready in time, so they can all be launched at exactly the same time, and go on sale all together three days later. For the OAE launching this early in the year is something of a novelty, as until recently we’d do it in a much more leisurely fashion. Maybe in April…May…just whenever we got it all together really.

But obviously we make a lot more impact if we launch our new season together with the other Residents: LPO, Philharmonia and London Sinfonietta and also together with the various series that the Southbank Centre puts on too.

Pictured below (thanks to Sam Dub for the pics) are the various speakers for the event – including Marshall Marcus, who not very long ago was the OAE’s Chief Executive. We, as you know, don’t have a Principal Conductor, so we asserted our difference and had a player representing us – a huge thank you to OAE Leader Matthew Truscott for volunteering – he did a great job, though he did remark he was far more nervous than he ever gets when playing his violin!

Obviously we were excited about our own season, but its also fun to hear whatevery one else is putting on – and we were especially excited to see that Eduardo Portal, our Melgaard Young Conductor last season, is featuring in the LPO’s season – congratulations to him! There will definitely be an OAE crowd there cheering him on on 25 November.

Some boring small print: Friends of the OAE have priority booking till 21 Feb – we’ll be posting full details of everything then. If you want to sign up to the Friends give us a buzz! 020 7239 9382. There’s also a cheaper Priority Bookers option for £15.

Already there has been some coverage:

Guardian

Gramophone

Evening Standard

William Norris, Communications Director

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Symphonic Enlightenment: First reviews

Mon 24 Jan 2011

We’re back from Paris and a second performance of our Symphonic Enlightenment programme of Wagner, Mahler and Liszt. First reviews from Friday’s performance are now in too – mainly from bloggers and online. Hopefully the Nationals will follow tomorrow. Thanks so much for the comments posted on our blog, You Tube video and also for the many Tweets we’re had as well. It’s always great to get such instant feedback!

Radio 3 recorded Friday’s concert at the Royal Festival Hall and you can listen to it at 7pm tonight, or online here for 7 days after.

Also coming up on the blog – a video interview with conductor Vladimir Jurowski, a round up of Night Shift news, pictures from Paris and a Parisien tour diary. Plus a parting shot from our intern Ingrid.

MusicOMH

Classical Source

BachTrack

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Sarah Connolly on Mahler’s Songs of a Wayfarer /Journeyman/ Traveller

Fri 21 Jan 2011

Tonight we play our Symphonic Enlightenment programme at the Royal Festival Hall – a late romantic programme of Wagner, Mahler and Liszt with 90 players on stage. For us, a huge undertaking. Parts of the programme had their first airing on Wednesday at our (Sold out) Night Shift, but tonight will be the first time that Sarah Connolly joins us to sing Mahler’s Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen (well, not quite first, we have obviously rehearsed it!).  We caught up with her earlier this week to ask her about the piece:

 

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Sarah Connolly on Mahler, turbo-thrust breaths and Wagnerian hysteria…

Fri 14 Jan 2011

Mezzo-soprano Sarah Connolly who sings with us in London and Paris next week, talks to journalist Andrew Mellor about her work with later romantic repertoire such as Mahler and Wagner:

You seem to be moving in a new direction with all this Wagner and Mahler…
Yes – thank goodness I had a lot of superb training at Glyndebourne, which prepared me very well. I didn’t realise I had that dramatic sound in my voice until Vladimir Jurowski offered me a concert performance of Tristan a while ago. He seemed to think I could do it and I appreciated that leap of faith. I had sung Das Lied von der Erde with the Concertgebouw and many other orchestral lieder by Mahler so despite performing Handel’s Giulio Cesare at the same time, Brangäne’s music felt very natural. I will confess though that her extreme outbursts initially made me want to apologize to the rest of the room! I felt slightly uncomfortable with Wagnerian hysteria.

You seemed very suited to the character at your Prom performance with Simon Rattle and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment this summer…
Actually Simon came to that rehearsal of Tristan with the LPO and Vladimir and that’s how the Prom came about. Simon was offering different ways of doing things, giving me more space than I’d been used to. He’s a wonderful accompanist; he invites the orchestra to accompany and never dominates, but at the same time he is also able to take the lead.

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Crooks, Valves and the 'God of Horns'

Thu 13 Jan 2011

Next week at our Symphonic Enlightenment concert at the Royal Festival Hall, the horns of the OAE take centre stage. Martin Lawrence, from our Horn Section, here explains the difference between Natural and Valve horns, talks about how they are used in the music of Liszt and Wagner and how Mahler wants the best of both worlds…

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Mahler: Death, warmth, comfort and…vomit?

Fri 7 Jan 2011

In two weeks time we’re getting out of our comfort zone and playing some HUGE (for us) pieces by Mahler, Liszt and Wagner with our Principal Artist Vladimir Jurowski. On the programme are two pieces by Mahler, his Totenfeier, and also the song cycle Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen (with soloist Sarah Connolly). Ahead of the concerts we caught up with some OAE players and asked them what Mahler means to them. Opinion was mixed…

You can catch the concert on 21 January at the Royal Festival Hall, 22 January at the Théatre de Champs Elysées in Paris, and two pieces feature in our Night Shift on 19 January at the Queen Elizabeth Hall.

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