Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment

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Current Distractions

Thu 29 May 2014

Current Distractions

In this week’s Current Distractions – surreal dogs, fun chocolate and a dormant crust of planetary mass that hasn’t spewed out anything hot in years.

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Lindt: More than just a chocolate bar

Mon 15 Oct 2012

Here in the OAE office, not only are we a little bit obsessed with cake, but also chocolate, so it’s particularly convenient that Lindt are a sponsor of the Orchestra.  Occasionally the office is treated to a sampling of this delicious chocolate which particularly pleases our projects director and keen cook Ceri Jones, who is a bit of a chocoholic.  Ceri managed to steal a bit of the Lindt 70% chocolate bar and took it home to create this indulgent but dairy free chocolate pudding.  Since it was such a success, Ceri has decided to share the recipe with you all…

She used coconut palm sugar in this recipe since it is has a lower Glycaemic Index than standard sugar, but if you can’t get hold of this from a health food store then replacing it with caster sugar would equally do the job.

Happy eating! (If you attempt to make this recipe and it comes out well- do send us a pic of you with your bakey creation.)

Ingredients (serves 5 in small ramekins)

160ml can of coconut cream 150g Lindt 70% dark chocolate 3 medium free-range/organic eggs tsp vanilla essence 2 tablespoons organic coconut palm sugar or caster sugar Cocoa powder to dust (optional)


Heat the coconut cream in a saucepan on a very low heat for a few minutes. Break up the chocolate and add to the coconut cream.  Stir a few times and then leave for a few mins whilst the chocolate melts into the cream. Keep the heat on low since you don’t want the cream or the chocolate to burn. Meanwhile, separate the eggs and whisk up the whites with the coconut palm sugar till soft peaks form. When the chocolate has completely melted into the cream, stir a few times to ensure a smooth brown consistency and remove from the heat. When the creamy chocolate has cooled sufficiently, pour a little into a clean bowl containing the yolks and stir.  It is important to add a little at a time to bring up the temperature of the yolks or else they will scramble.  Gradually pour the rest into the yolks and combine well.  Finally fold in the egg whites till there is no trace of white – just a smooth brown chocolatey gorgeousness. Spoon the mixtures into ramekins, cover with clingfilm and place in the fridge for 2 hours to set.  You could make these a day in advance – making them a perfect no-last minute hassle dinner party dessert. When ready to serve sprinkle over some cocoa powder.

Ceri’s other recipes can be found here.

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Zen. The man who cam. (AKA yet more on the Rattle tour)

Wed 10 Aug 2011

Important work, getting to know the orchestras with a few beers!

Yes we’re still eking out news from our Simon Rattle tour…

It was the first trip with the Orchestra for our Digital Content Officer, Zen, and here’s his account of the tour:

Often described as the ‘intrepid’ cameraman, I have to say I embarked on this trip, my first OAE tour experience, with a fair dose of trepidation. How would I fair in this close-knit orchestral group for almost 4 days – or more importantly how would they react to having a camera almost constantly in their faces?

The brief was to capture as much footage of the tour as possible and edit it down to a video of duration no greater than 2’59” (a length that was agreeable to the various venues and agents) and to get to know the players better.  A familiarity with the players is very useful when harassing them for a voxpop.  Many have already been subjected to on the spot interviews and know how I usually pounce in rehearsal breaks, but Kings Place where we often rehearse allows plenty of hiding places, not so a packed Eurostar carriage…

Getting to know the players better was something I got stuck into straight away.  The brass/percussion section took me under their wing on the first night in Brussels (a rare night off for the orchestra) confirming the stereotype with a comprehensive tour of the local bars.  I survived, but barely.  The next morning I emerged from the hotel in a daze only to see both coaches departing on their way to Luxembourg… were they trying to get rid of me already? My surname ‘Grisdale’ had been crossed off accidently along with ‘Griffiths’, Kevin our young conductor.  Nevertheless they saw me waving in a panic and let me on board.

So I made it to the Philharmonie Luxembourg, which is a beautiful concert hall in a rather bleak part of town which is largely a building site, a lot of construction going on.  The hall inside is impressive with boxes that look like mini blocks of flats.  After filming the rehearsal I sought to approach Sir Simon Rattle for a few quick words.  In a previous OAE video about CPE Bach I managed to get Sir Roger Norrington in front of the camera as he sipped his tea during rehearsal break and he happily divulged all things CPE.  This technique I wished to apply to Sir Simon Rattle.  Unfortunately it was not to be, so we agreed to postpone it to the final London date at the Royal Festival Hall.

The Labèque sisters were up for it and Katia insisted that I film them as much as possible in rehearsals etc.  However an interview was not on the cards as they were both not feeling well (really they weren’t) but they gave me their word that they would also do it at the Royal Festival Hall…

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On tour with Sir Simon: Brussels

Thu 11 Dec 2008

The first day of the tour sees us departing from St Pancras Station. The tour party includes the Orchestra (60+ players), 4 members of OAE Management and 2 members of staff from Askonas Holt, our Agents, as well as Sir Simon himself of course.

Sometimes the OAE will manage a tour itself but for some, especially long complex ones like this, we have an agent to manage the tour for us – and that includes the initial planning of the tour – getting dates with concert halls and working out the itinerary as well as on the day arrangements.

The party sets off from St Pancras at 10am minus one violinist who is unwell – he’ll rejoin us later in the tour in Birmingham. Some thought is giving to finding a replacement but its decided that the section will be ok with being one player down.

We arrive in Brussels at 1.25pm, and after a short coach transfer arrive at our hotel. Emma, from our Agents, has travelled ahead of the main party so everything is very smooth – not only is vital information available for everyone (see picture) but all 60+ people get checked in in a matter of minutes.

After a quick bite with my colleagues Michael and Megan we meet up with Orchestra Manager Philippa and head over to the concert Hall, BOZAR (a clever way of abbreviating the ‘Palais des Beaux-Arts’. There we give Philippa a hand setting up the stage for the 5pm rehearsal. We’re pictured on stage here having a quick break after finishing the set up. In a rather nice touch, staff from the hall come round and put small boxes of Belgian chocolates on every music stand. Luckily there are also enough for the Management! I have a feeling these wont be the last chocolates I’ll eat during our Brussels stay…

The Orchestra assemble and when Sir Simon Rattle arrives at 5pm there are yet more chocolates – he hands around the big box he was given backstage at the Royal Festival Hall. I also learn that one of the Double Basses (the instrument, not the player) has sustained an injury during transit (the larger instruments were transported by van overnight). It’s apparently not too serious and will hopefully be fixed during the tour.

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