Behind the OAE Player

As we introduce you to all the new content available on OAE Player, we wanted to give you a unique glimpse into the filming process. We asked some of the musicians and team involved to reveal what it was like behind the scenes…

The films on our new digital platform, OAE Player, are so much more than just static concert recordings by a traditional orchestra. These films are specifically created for a new digital arts frontier. Our musicians have chosen the music, written their scripts and fully embraced the new opportunities available to them. 

In our Haydn Under the Knife series, for example, our musicians squeeze into their surgical gloves and imagine the great composer laid bare on the experimental table in London’s Old Operating Theatre. Carefully we dissect some of his lesser known pieces.

OAE Projects Officer Sophie Adams

‘Working on films for OAE Player has been such an exciting new challenge. Never did I think I would find myself operating a camera, let alone tying toe tags on to violinists whilst they lay stretched out on an operating gurney! 

Each new venue and programme poses fresh creative possibilities. I love that point in the set up process where we are shuffling around camera tripods, tweaking and adjusting just to get that perfect angle. My favourite shots are those where we are able to capture the close ups of intricate finger work or subtle glances exchanged between the players, stuff that you might miss from the distance of an auditorium. 

I hope we are able to showcase our wonderful players in a way that gives our audiences a unique view into the chemistry of the music and a fresh concert experience.’

OAE Leader and violinist Kati Debretzeni on recording Telemann at Fitzrovia Chapel

‘This recording was such a special and wonderful experience. I didn’t know the sumptuous Fitzrovia Chapel, and was completely taken by surprise. Through this hidden gem in the middle of Bloomsbury I was transported to Ravenna for the day. The only problem was the 35C heat – it turned to be the hottest day this August. Better than freezing! 

The plan was to record five Fantasias out of the twelve Telemann had written in 1735, each a miniature jewel capturing a very different mood and effect. The OAE’s in-house recording team worked their magic in getting a lovely recorded sound and our brilliant Netty Isserlis, usually seen playing the viola, lent her outstanding ears as a ‘producer’. This made the process much smoother and easier, as I didn’t have to use my ‘critical’ inner ears at the same time as playing. I could concentrate on what I wanted to say with the music, whilst Netty gave me feedback on what didn’t quite work at the end of each take. 

The Fantasias are very close to my heart, I feel fortunate to have had the chance to engage with five of these miniature musical worlds that they create.’

Mezzo soprano Bethany Horak-Hallet on her experience recording Bach’s BWV 34 O ewiges Feuer, o Ursprung der Liebe at a vocal masterclass with international tenor superstar Mark Padmore at Acland Burghley School

‘I had such a great time. Usually you have time for a quick run through, so it was such a luxury to ‘discover’ the piece in such depth. We found so many hidden corners of beauty and musical intricacy that you get from Bach’s music. Mark’s commitment to the process created a wonderful, open environment to express all of our thoughts and ideas. I really hope the audience gets a true insight into how much love and care that goes into music making.’

Principal Oboe Dan Bates on recording Beethoven’s Octet at Asylum Chapel

After having been lucky enough to have played these pieces outside on the lawn at Glyndebourne over the summer, it was a very special treat to have the chance to play them again with my OAE colleagues inside an actual building with an actual acoustic (and without the worry of inhaling flying ants and other insects!).

Even though we were standing much farther apart than we would have done under normal circumstances, we were suddenly able to hear each other much better – meaning that we could really listen and respond to the ideas and phrasing of the wonderful winds of the OAE. 

The Asylum Chapel is an incredibly atmospheric space and it’s crumbling grandeur chimed very well with Triebensee’s arrangement of some of the numbers from Don Giovanni.’

Watch all these films and more on the OAE Player.