Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment

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US reviews: CPE Bach and Heiner Goebbels

Tue 22 Mar 2011

We’ll be posting the second part of Netty’s tour diary tomorrow, but in the meantime here are a selection of reviews from our trip across the pond.

Newspapers

New York Times on the period instrument movement

Boston Globe

New York Times (on CPE Bach)

New York Times (on Goebbels)

 

Blogs

The Boston Musical Intelligencer

SuperConductor

The Arty Semite

 

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Netty's tour diary. Part 1 (CPE Bach, Birthdays and Viagra)

Mon 21 Mar 2011

Viola player Annette (known to many in the OAE as ‘Netty’) Isserlis made a diary of our recent tour to the US. Here’s days 1-3 with the rest following tomrorow. We hope to post some pics up soon too… A few additions from the blog editor in the brackets!

Mon Mar 14

Scene: Carluccio’s, outside Terminal 5, LHR.

Breakfast with husband Ken between red-eye flight in from Schipol (following 2 OAE concerts in Groningen and Nijmingen with Rachel Podger), and impending flight to USA: Ken to LA for solo concerts and Me to Boston with OAE and Sir Roger (Norrington), continuing the CPE Bachfest.
Dreadful news continuing to come through about the Japanese Disaster(s). Ken’s family all ok.

Painless flight to Boston followed by similarly painless Immigration, amazingly! It transpired that he chatty officer knew Yo-yo Ma personally….

Convivial dinner and bed not too early: it’s the only way to sleep through the 1st night, in my experience.

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Happy Birthday Sir Roger!

Thu 17 Mar 2011

Yesterday saw the Orchestra travel from Boston to New York for that evening’s concert at Lincoln Center – and it was also Sir Roger Norrington’s Birthday. At the Boston concert he was presented with this very appropriate T Shirt (we were playing the music of CPE Bach) which he proudly wore on the coach down to New York. A full report on the tour to follow soon, and if you’re in New York you can still catch the OAE when we combine with the London Sinfonietta tomorrow for a performance of Heiner Goebbel’s Songs of Wars I Have Seen tomorrow evening (18 March).

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The other amazing Mr Bach – first reviews

Tue 8 Mar 2011

Firstly – today is CPE Bach’s 297th Birthday! So it’s very appropriate that we are celebrating his music at this time. The first reviews of our concert of his music last week at the Queen Elizabeth Hall are now in – links below. Next week we’re off to the States for further performances of this concert in Boston (15 March) and New York (16 March).

Guardian

Classical Source

Bach Track

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Catherine Mackintosh: Speed Interview

Fri 4 Mar 2011

Catherine Mackintosh, an OAE violinist and ex leader, will be taking part in our The other amazing Mr Bach study day tomorrow, playing and talking about CPE Bach’s Trio Sonata Sanguineas and Melancholius. Here’s our speed interview with her:

What/when was your big breakthrough?
My breakthroughs have been many but small.  A very early one was playing the One Note in Purcell’s Fantasy of that name with the members of the Melos Ensemble as a teenager. Emmanuel Hurwitz was then very helpful to me. Becoming leader of the Academy of Ancient Music in 1973 was also a huge career step for me.

What do you fear the most?
Snakes, without a doubt and anything bad happening to my family. Not too keen on the idea of death either.

Which mobile number do you call the most?
As my husband hardly ever uses his mobile, I expect it’s Philippa’s (OAE Orchestra Manager).

What – or where – is perfection?
I have never been in pursuit of it actually because, if it exists, or is discovered, it is all the more astonishing for being unsought.  Sitting in front of a roaring log fire in our house in France comes pretty close I must admit.

Who is your favourite hero from fiction (book/comic/film/opera) – and why?
Aunt Dahlia from the works of PG Wodehouse. She is described by her nephew, Bertie Wooster as “a festive old bird” and now I have reached a certain age, I cannot imagine a better state to emulate.

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Happy / Sad (OAE players revealed)

Fri 4 Mar 2011

So the previous post clearly stumped you, though someone over on Facebook did guess one correctly! Both are violinists, with Catherine Mackintosh on the left in the ‘happy’ mask and Matthew Truscortt in the ‘grumpy’ mask. So what’s with the masks you might ask? Well, as part of our The other amazing Mr Bach CPE Bach study day tomorrow, Catherine and Matthew, along with Steven Devine (harpsichord) and Jonathan Manson (cello), are performing CPE Bach’s Trio Sonata Sanguineas and Melancholius. Back in his time it was thought that the human body was filled with four substances (humors), which in balance made for a healthy person. The ancient names for these are Sanguine, Choleric, Melancholic and Phlegmatic, with the theory being known as humorism.

Each of the humors has a characteristic, so Sanguineas is a lively, fun, bubbly and vivacious character. On the other hand Melancholius is a rather dour, sad and pessimistic individual. In CPE Bach’s piece (which is being performed in the afternoon session of our study day, together with a discussion after) the two violins play these characters, hence the masks, which yes, will get worn for the performance.

Sanguineas has a chirpy upbeat little melody, while Melancholius’s tune is slow, sad and long. Sanguineas constantly tries to cheer Melancholius up, interrupting his melody and being relentlessly upbeat. Eventually the upbeat nature of Sanguineas wins and the two end up playing the same tune. It’s CPE Bach’s only piece of programmatic music (i.e. music which evokes a non musical source, such as a story or poem) and really is a fasinating and quirky little piece.

Come and hear it and enjoy the battle of happy and sad at the Purcell Room on Saturday at 2pm. There’s also a 10.30am Session which focuses more on musicology and context for CPE bach’s music.

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Eccentric, wild, adventurous & avant garde. Yes, it’s the other amazing Mr Bach

Wed 2 Mar 2011

Who knew such adjectives would be applied to a little known Baroque (or early Classical?) composer? But those are the words of OAE players and conductor Sir Roger Norrington, when asked to describe the music of CPE Bach. Steven Devine, who plays Harpsichord, goes on to say he’s ‘a bit of a maniac’. Who knew? In our latest video OAE players and Sir Roger talk about this fantastically exciting and unusual music, which we play tomorrow at Southbank Centre. You can find out even more about the music in our Study day on Saturday, with some serious study of CPE Bach in the morning and a performance and player discussion in the afternoon.

[vimeo http://vimeo.com/27145450 w=412&h=300] Read More

CPE Bach Playlist

Wed 2 Mar 2011

Hi everyone, my name’s David and I’m the new Communications Intern in the OAE office. I’ve been here a couple of weeks now but this is my first blog post on here!

I’m really looking forward to the CPE Bach concert tomorrow night at Queen Elizabeth Hall – CPE Bach is so rarely played and it’ll be great to hear it live! To get you all in the mood for tomorrow, I’ve created a playlist on Spotify – if you’d like to have a listen click here to go to Spotify and have an explore.

See you at the concert tomorrow,

David Hopkins

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You are invited to a Royal Flute Lesson

Mon 28 Feb 2011

Our pre-concert ‘OAE Extras’ event at the Queen Elizabeth Hall this week is an extra special one – a reconstruction of a Royal Flute Lesson. The event is the brainchild of Principal Flute Lisa Beznosiuk and Sub-Principal Neil McLaren, and as well as being a good excuse for them to dress up, it also redresses the fact that there are no flutes in the evening’s concert!

CPE Bach (whose music is featured in the following concert at 7pm) worked in the court of Frederick the Great and the event features music as well as drama, including CPE Bach’s Trio Sonata.

In the video below Lisa and Neil talk about the event, after a run though they had done at our offices. Do come and join us for the lesson this Thursday, 5.45pm at the Queen Elizabeth Hall – after all, it’s not every day that you get a Royal invite!

More information on the concert here

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In rehearsal with Sir Roger

Fri 25 Feb 2011

A couple of pics from today’s rehearsal of CPE Bach with Sir Roger Norrington.

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CPE Bach. Very Postmodern?

Fri 25 Feb 2011

Next week is CPE Bach week here at the OAE. Or, as we have called the concert, The other amazing Mr Bach week.  It kicks off Sunday in Bradford-on-Avon with a concert of his music conducted by Sir Roger Norrington, which then comes to London on Thursday 3 March. Then we have a study day on 5 March, again at London’s Southbank Centre, allowing you to delve deeper into the composer and music. After that we’re off to the States – with concerts in Boston and New York, but more of that another time.

In today’s Guardian there’s a feature in which journalist Guy Damman argues that CPE’s Bach is unjustly neglected. He quotes musicologist Annette Richards who says:

“His music – or the music he considered representative of his talents – is miles away from the elegance and balance we associate with this period. Timelines are crisscrossed, he is endlessly stopping and starting, wrong-footing the listener and causing his audience to reconsider its relation to the music. In that sense, it’s very postmodern, a kind of meta-music.”

Read the whole article here, and if you use Spotify you can listen to the first movement of the Cello Concerto we are playing here.

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