Looking ahead to 2024 there are so many projects to get excited about. OK, so we say it every year. Yet each OAE season genuinely has its own melody and a distinct rhythm to it, shaped by the repertoire chosen and the guest artists invited by our player members themselves. Less than two years ago Covid-19 restrictions still cast their shadow over concert-going. So each season takes us a little further down the road to recovery and the positivity that each brings is to be cherished.
In February, we are joined by violinist-turned-conductor Riccardo Minasi and soprano Louise Alder in an all-Mozart programme. The playlist opens with a taster of Riccardo conducting Mozart with another symphony named for a city beginning with ‘P’ (No. 38, the ‘Prague’ Symphony); whilst we feature Louise in the piano version of ‘La flûte enchantée’ from Shéhérazade by Ravel taken from her album of French song, Chère Nuit.
Maxim Emelyanychev is back in 2024! If you heard his interpretation of Saint-Saëns’ ‘Organ’ Symphony, which literally had the audience jumping out of their seats, you’ll be termbling with anticipation to hear what happens when he puts our players and their instruments to work on Sibelius and Rachmaninov in April. Here he conducts his Scottish Chamber Orchestra in Mendelssohn’s ‘Reformation’ Symphony (more on Mendelssohn in a bit), whilst we have the last movement of Sibelius 5 from Simon Rattle, one of our principal guest artists, in his CBSO days.
We welcome back our former principal bassoon, Peter Whelan, to direct our Eastertide concert. He is represented on the playlist with the opening of Handel’s Water Music from his 2023 disc Mr Charles the Hungarian with the Irish Baroque Orchestra. Catch a bit of Bach’s Easter Oratorio itself from the ever brilliant and spirited Gabrieli and Paul McCreesh. There’s a bonus Bach track in the shape of one of his Harpsichord Concertos performed by our very own Steven Devine – in his reconstruction – and friends from the OAE. This cracker of a CD has been widely praised since its release earlier in 2023.
Our playlists are never complete without some Purcell, of course. We start 2024 with a community opera conjured from Purcell’s The Fairy Queen by the puck-ish genius of composer James Redwood and writer/director Hazel Gould. The Hornpipe starts a Purcell sequence, which offers you the first of our teasers for the Autumn season with two numbers from our 2009 recording of Dido and Aeneas… look out for more details in April! It’s also a chance for a glimpse of Lucy Crowe, who will be the soloist in Mendelssohn’s Lobgesang (Symphony No. 2) in April.
There follows the second little teaser for the Autumn, with some German Romanticism from principal guest artist Adam Fischer (and the Danish Chamber Orchestra)… 🕵️♂️
Our 2023/24 season at the Southbank Centre is crowned by a typically ambitious collaboration with the one-and-only András Schiff. As well as directing us in Mendelssohn’s complete symphonic cycle, he will also feature as piano soloist in the two Piano Concertos. Hear how that might go down here with Piano Concerto No. 1. We round off the playlist with our own recording of the sun-drenched opening movement of the ‘Italian’ Symphony (No. 4) with the inimitable Charles Mackerras.
Please enjoy this tantalising aural insight to the musical journey ahead. We wish you a very Happy New Year filled with stellar music-making.
The C90 is our blog feature paying homage to the lost art of the 90-minute mixtape.