Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment

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A Souvenir from Beverley

Thu 30 May 2013

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Education Director Cherry Forbes discusses her time at the Beverley Early Music Festival.

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And now for something completely different…

Thu 16 May 2013

Chi-chi-crop

It’s that time of year again, when we reveal our ‘look’ for the new season. You might have seen a few things that hinted at our forthcoming brochure, most notably our recent video showing it on the printing presses, but here for the first time we can reveal the full set of pictures.

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OAE Tots go Strings: what you heard

Mon 15 Apr 2013

© Anna D'Emilio

We had great fun in our OAE Tots go Strings concert on Saturday and hope you did too. If you’d like to know a bit more about what we played, read on:

Most of our concert was made up of Telemann’s Don Quixote pronounced ‘Don Keyshot’. See what we did there with our donkey theme! This is a wonderful suite (collection of short pieces) by Telemann based on the 17th century Spanish story.  A while back, Richard Strauss was credited with writing programme music depicting stories in music, but you can see Telemann was at it about 200 years earlier.

This story is about the adventures of Don Quixote on his horse Rosinante, accompanied by his peasant squire Sancho Panza on his mule (that donkey theme again). Telemann’s pieces are titled Overture, The Awakening of Don Quixote, His Attack on the Windmills, His Amorous Sighs for Princesse Dulcine,  Sancho Panza is Mocked (tossed in a blanket), The Gallop of Rosinante, The Gallop of Sancho Panza’s Mule, Don Quixote at rest.

Donkey crept through the woods to part of the ‘Surprise’ Symphony by Haydn (second movement) and Teddy Bears’ Picnic was an arrangement by one of our own OAE viola players, Annette Isserlis.

The presenters for this concert were Cecelia Bruggemeyer and Susie Carpenter-Jacobs. And special thanks to our very willing and enthusiastic Education Officer Ellie Cowan, for her donkey work.

We look forward to seeing you again at future events. Check out our Education pages for events coming up soon.

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Me, Cecelia’s Bass, and I

Thu 21 Feb 2013

Cecelia's-Bass

Tuesday 29 January, Budapest 10am.  Feeling very lucky that I had not gotten up at 5am to travel back with the Orchestra, though feeling a little bit anxious about carrying a 2mx1mx1m 45kg double bass in its case back to London. All on my own.

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OAE TOTS go brass!

Sat 3 Nov 2012

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Our TOTS concerts this Sunday at the Southbank Centre are fast approaching so we thought we’d give you a little idea of what to expect, especially if it’s your first TOTS experience.

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Greenwich TOTS playlist

Fri 10 Aug 2012

Little-Top

Thank you to everyone who joined us and jumped, danced, sang, bumped and rowed their way round Europe with us at our TOTS Concert in the Little Top at Greenwich Summer Festival last Saturday (4 Aug). What an amazing atmosphere…

For those of you who’d like to listen again to anything we played, here’s the programme as promised:

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Teachers, towers and tidying up

Thu 9 Aug 2012

Willow-Dene-workshop

We piloted a new education project this year, when OAE musicians visited a special needs school, Willow Dene, in South East London during the Spring & Summer terms.  Here’s a little taster of how the workshops went…

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TOTS playlist

Tue 3 Jul 2012

Tots for blog

It was wonderful to see, and hear, so many of you at our Tots workshops last Sunday at the Royal Festival Hall. If you grown-ups would like to know what you heard and maybe listen again at home, here’s a summary. 

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Not all audiences are the same: Melissa and Cecelia

Wed 23 May 2012

Cecelia Bruggemeyer and Melissa

The second of our blog posts featuring an interview with audience and orchestra members featured in our new pictures. This time it’s the turn of audience member Melissa and Double Bass Cecelia Bruggemeyer.

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A 21st Century rehearsal…

Wed 28 Mar 2012

skype2

One of the bigger problems musicians face is finding slots of time when we are all free to rehearse for chamber concerts and so on.

So, when Cherry Forbes, OAE Education Director, asked Double Bassist Cecelia and me to put together a programme of music for an education project in Plumstead, Cecelia had a brainwave – we would see if the 21st century had the answer to this old problem.

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What you can get in a Zafira if you really try….

Wed 7 Mar 2012

Cecelia blog

It was the day after our wonderful series of Berlioz Romeo and Juliet concerts had finished. Our final, and very successful concert, had been in Paris, involving a day trip there and back on the Eurostar. We even had time for lunch, though probably at a faster speed than the French would approve of.

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February Podcast: Sir Mark Elder, Laurence Cummings and frothy tea…

Thu 9 Feb 2012

podcast

It’s time for the latest packed edition of the OAE podcast, this time with added snazzy intro music. In this edition we speak to Sir Mark Elder about Berlioz’s Romeo and Juliet, chat with Laurence Cummings about Bach, talk to composer Sally Beamish and writer Melanie Reid about Spinal Chords, a new piece for the OAE as part of the London 2012 celebrations, plus there’s a chat with OAE Digital Content Officer Zen Grisdale about his role at the OAE (including how he like his tea…) and lastly we talk on the phone to Double Bassist Cecelia Bruggemeyer about her top CD picks. Phew!

The podcast can be streamed or downloaded below and will also be available on itunes from tormorrow.

Full details of all our performances

OAE Podcast February 2012 by OAE

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Recipe for Success: My week in Bradford on Avon

Tue 18 Oct 2011

CeceliaBruggemeyer

1. Take:

A fairy queen and her feuding king
4 mixed up lovers
A mischievous sprite and a powerful love potion
Oh! and of course – a donkey’s head

 

2. Mix with:
8 Year 7 classes (age 11-12) – 240 in total and their very trusting, game and able music, dance and drama teachers
8 wonderful dances from Purcell’s Fairy Queen
8 colourful scenes from Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream

 

3. Place in the Wiltshire Music Centre, two classes at a time.  Add a team of 3 OAE musicians including education director Cherry Forbes, a professional singer, and the wonderful animateur James Redwood.

 

4. Stir  into one class the magical creative energy of James and Hetty Wayne until you have a new song. It might be about Helena’s misery at being unloved, of Bottom’s surprise at his new head.

 

5. Meanwhile to another class add drops  of Shakespeare, and Purcell, with a flavour of Cherry Forbes and myself, to form narrative scenes told in drama and dance. -Thank goodness for my dance O level, of which I’m very proud, though I haven’t been able to do a full pike since!

 

6. When ready swap the classes over and repeat.

 

7. Repeat stages 4 to 6 four times from Monday to Thursday, not forgetting to add a tablespoon of singing tips from singers Carys Lane or Giles Underwood.

 

8. On the fifth day assemble all your new songs and narratives. Inject into the mix:

An orchestral school ensemble playing Purcell
A mixed GCSE and A level ensemble’s newly created piece using a ground bass by Purcell
5 A level dancers who have choreographed the First Music, and the Chaconne (Purcell).

 

9. Finally garnish with a tutti performance of ‘Hush, no more’.

 

10. Present your brand new, funny, magical and moving version of Fairy Queen to assembled parents and future pupils.

 

The hardest part of  my week: out of Hermia, Lysander, Helena and Demetrius, remembering who loved who at any one time.

The highlight:  240 young voices singing Hush, No more.  Such an incredible, special sound.

 

Cecelia Bruggemeyer, OAE Double Bassist, at St Laurence School in September 2011

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(Orchestra) Picks of the Season

Wed 28 Sep 2011

Horn Shadow

Following on from our staff picks below here are some from the Orchesta…

 

“My picks of the season: All of them of course….but if I really have to make a choice I’m really looking forward to the French romantic programmes. I can’t agree with Mendlessohn – I love Berlioz’s orchestration and particularly the subtle and effective ways he uses the double bass, and I can’t wait to hear what Debussy’s La Mer sounds like on period instruments. But just as exciting is the prospect of working with Laurence Cummings and the amazing energy and colour he brings to Handel and Bach, And then there’s the fab soloists like Levin, and Bostridge, and Podger, and Isserlis, and Faust and, and, and…you see I’m back where I started: all of them!

 

Cecelia Bruggemeyer, Double Bass

 

I’m very much looking forward to the Glory of Venice in January. The Monteverdi Vespers in 2010 was such a wonderful project I’ve been wanting to do more of that repertoire ever since. The Choir of the Enlightenment were fantastic and Rob Howarth has real insight into that style. For the Vespers I bought a new instrument – a beautiful copy of a Spanish bajon tuned in Dorian Mode – and it hasn’t had an outing since then! I’m also really looking forward to Romeo and Juliet with a team of four bassoons all playing early 19th century French originals – that’s a real rarity!

 

Andrew Watts, Bassoon

 

The French programme with Sir Simon Rattle in June is particularly exciting and challenging for the OAE’s timpani and percussion players. Spending our lives firmly in the rhythm section in classical repertoire, through the second half of the 19th century composers started to use timpani more as a harmonic instrument and percussion to create tone colours and effects. As the OAE branches out once again into a new area, we’ve got to select our instruments carefully with Debussy’s fascination with oriental music firmly in mind.

It’s reasonable to assume that Debussy’s La Mer , with its exotic influences and soporific moods, to be solely influenced by the Mediterranean, but it’s an interesting fact that Debussy actually finished the composition during an extended stay in Eastbourne! I haven’t yet been able to identify the “kiss-me-quick”, fish ‘n’ chips and donkey rides influences of the British seaside, but I’m sure they’re there somewhere…. Definitely one for a pub quiz….!

 

Adrian Bending, Timpani

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The Fab, er, eight…

Wed 21 Sep 2011

OAE at the Usher Hall, Edinburgh

If a change is as good as a rest then we OAE musicians should be well refreshed after this summer.

For me one of the highlights was playing the rarely performed Liszt Faust Symphony, a piece that required us to expand our numbers somewhat. One day we were a double bass section of two playing Handel’s Rinaldo at Glyndebourne, the next a section of eight, rehearsing Liszt, and what a fab eight it was!

It was a delight to be joined by bassists from other symphony and chamber orchestras – a chance to exchange musical ideas, and find out how things are done elsewhere. The wealth of information was mind boggling, from knowledge of instruments, players and conductors, to the best restaurants in Warsaw, – and it was very good.

We at the OAE are different to most orchestras, symphonic or chamber, in that the size of orchestra fluctuates all the time depending on the repertoire and the venue (Three players in a pub last week, I hear, taking The Night Shift new places). So when we come together for a big project such as the Faust Symphony we may not have worked with many of our colleagues for a year or more. The first rehearsal has a real sense of ‘getting to know you’ as we all have our antennae out to the max – listening, adjusting, blending.

What I’ll never forget about this Liszt project is the way that this large gathering of wonderful, talented players, came into focus as a cohesive whole. The feeling was almost physical; a seismic, earth-trembling sense of plates coming together to form a new musical land. Fanciful language, maybe, but the fantastic resulting concerts, such as the one at the Edinburgh Festival, will stay in the memory for a long time.

Cecelia Bruggemeyer, Double Bass

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OAE Tots

Wed 14 Sep 2011

OAE Tots Concert

So how old were you when you first heard professional musicians live?

You’re never too young to experience the OAE, as I and Rachel Beckett (recorder player and flautist) showed last Sunday, when more than forty 2 and 3 year olds had their first taste of baroque favourites.

The ethos of the OAE education programme is that every project is inspired by the orchestra’s core repertoire. These workshops at King’s Place were no exception, including music by Handel, Vivaldi, Telemann and of course J. S. Bach.

I absolutely love working with this age-group. Their responses are so immediate and truthful. They don’t yet know how to hide boredom or fain enthusiasm. When you could hear a pin drop as woolly dog introduced the recorder, I knew our young audience was hooked.

The story of The 3 Billy Goats Gruff was perfect to demonstrate Rachel’s different sized instruments; descant and treble recorders, and mellow flute. What about the bass you ask? The ugly troll of course.

The tots were skipping goats to the Country Dance from Handel’s Water Music, sleepy goats to the slow movement of Vivaldi’s  Il Gardellino Concerto, and dancing goats to the Badinerie from Bach’s Flute Suite.

As a final climax all were given instruments with which to make quiet ‘mouse’ music, or noisy ‘lion’ music. It may not be what Telemann had in mind when composing Wassermusik, but the Tritons movement works brilliantly to tell Aesop’s Fable ‘The Lion and the Mouse’.

It was Rachel’s chance to weald her sopranino recorder – about as far away in pitch as it’s possible to get from a double bass . It was also a chance for education director, Cherry Forbes and our new education officer, Ellie Cowan to let their hair down as they took charge of the puppets and led a lively chase across the room.

The only problem…finding the best angle to get a photo of your tiny tot next to a huge double bass.

Cecelia Bruggemeyer, Double Bass

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300 children, Don Giovanni and a lot of guts

Wed 6 Jul 2011

OAE Children's concert

 

One of the things I most love about playing with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment (OAE) is the variety- the spice of a freelance musician’s life.

I’m currently halfway between Kings Lynn and Glyndebourne (somewhere in Essex): halfway between schools and family concerts of Don Giovanni and the second night of Rinaldo: halfway between an audience of hundreds who had never been in the same room as an opera singer before, and an audience famously passionate about opera.

Just to put your minds at rest, I’m not actually driving as I type.

Forget the vuvuzelas – for me there’s nothing like the sound of 300 children buzzing with anticipation and excitement before the start of a schools’ concert. The children in Kings Lynn were there as composers, performers, and audience. You ain’t heard nothing till you hear the Corn Exchange full of children singing Fin ch’han dal vino. They loved it so much they just couldn’t stand still as they sang it.

They were guided through the concert by the fantastic James Redwood and OAE Education Director Cherry Forbes as they heard about the dastardly Don Giovanni, listened to the OAE play Mozart, performed their new songs and of course heard Real Live Opera Singers from Glyndebourne…the ones that don’t need microphones!

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Sir Simon Rattle – what makes him so special?

Thu 16 Jun 2011

As I write this the OAE is downstairs in Hall 2 of Kings Place where they are in day three of rehearsals with Sir Simon Rattle. Sir Simon is one of the OAE’s closest collaborators and has worked with us almost since the Orchestras inception – his first concert was in 1987, just a year after the Orchestra was founded. Now one of the OAE’s three Principal Artists, (alongside Vladimir Jurowski and Iván Fischer) he works with us on a regular basis, with a tour most seasons. In the rehearsal yesterday we caught up with some OAE players in the break to ask them just what makes him such a special and exciting conductor to work with.

William Norris, Communications Director

 

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Tour Diary: Sheffield

Mon 11 Apr 2011

A short video from our trip up to Sheffield back in February – a concert which was part of our Green Tour initiative which saw the OAE ditch individual cars in favour of coaches and trains. Though we now know that trains are noisy places in which to film interviews… turn the volume up to hear Ceri at the start! Sadly we didn’t get footage of the venue evacuation, we were too busy wondering what on earth was happening…

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"Cherubini is like Asparagus.." Antony Pay, Clarinet, OAE

Fri 5 Nov 2010