Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment

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French Fancies – Press Reactions

Mon Mar 3 2014

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Now time for some music by Felix Mendelssohn's good friend, Prince Albert (i.e. Queen Victoria's husband).… twitter.com/i/web/status/1…


On 20 February, we performed with Katia and Marielle Labèque in a programme featuring Saint-Saëns, Ravel, Debussy and Ibert.  We’ve heard your thoughts so now it’s time to look at what the press had to say…

Curtis Rogers of Classical Source felt it was a “charming excursion across the Channel for a well-devised programme designed to entertain adults and children alike”.  He particularly liked Ogden Nash’s “brilliantly witty verses” read by Samuel West “in a leopard-print suit and with a wry deadpan American accent. Again, the close interaction among the instrumentalists made for a commendable vitality in performance, spurred on by the Labèques’ energetic guidance from the pianos. Antony Pay on clarinet also offered some comedy, by strutting to the centre of the stage to make a despondent cockerel call amongst the hens. Subsequently his cuckoo, as in nature itself, was heard off-stage and unseen, and he reappeared to look on disapprovingly at the Pianists’ scales which the Labèques amusingly allowed to become out of kilter with each other”.  Overall, he felt it delighted his “inner child”.

Hannah Nepil of The Financial Times thought it was a performance “full of shimmering sensuousness” and her adulatory alliteration didn’t end there “The tone was set in the Labèques’ first offering: a hauntingly delicate, immaculately refined reading of Ravel’s Mother Goose Suite, in its original version for piano duo. This piece calls for featherweight fingers, and the sisters barely seemed to touch the keyboard”.

Geoff Brown of The Times was equally poetic in his praise, saying that “Gusto, suavity and smiles were everywhere at the Queen Elizabeth Hall”.  Geoff seemed to enjoy the Carnival of the Animals and went onto say that “More fun arrived in Ibert’s Divertissement, dynamically conducted by the personable Eduardo Portal”.  Overall, he was a fan, concluding that “The OAE should go Parisian more often”.


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