Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment

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‘5 ways to live the good life’, with Edward Elgar

Thu 23 May 2019

If the famous English composer Edward Elgar had decided to take a back-seat in the music world, we think he could’ve written a very popular self-help book.

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Playlist: Lord of the Strings

Fri 21 Nov 2014

Next week we’re performing an all-strings programme at London’s Queen Elizabeth Hall with Richard Tognetti.

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Edward Elgar (1857-1934)


His times: Elgar was born eight years before the Finn Jean Sibelius, a composer who like many others on the edges of Europe would become associated with musical ‘nationalism’.

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Current Distractions

Thu 3 Apr 2014

In this week’s Current Distractions – sexism, crime, nudity and wild animals. Plus, classical music.

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Gerontius – first reviews

Thu 26 Nov 2009

We’ve had the first reviews in for our concert of The Dream of Gerontius on Tuesday – plus one bloggers view and a mini Twitter review. What did you think?

The Times

Classical Source

Planet Hugill Blog

Andrew Mellor Twitter Review

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Elgar's Trombone in pictures

Mon 23 Nov 2009

Here are a few pictures of our Principal Trombonist Sue Addison with Elgar’s orginal trombine which will have its first performance in a concert since Elgar’s death tomorrow evening at the Royal Festival Hall. All pics by Joe Plommer.

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Elgar's Trombone

Mon 23 Nov 2009

As many of you will have heard on the radio or read in the press our performance tomorrow will feature Edward Elgar’s orginal trombone, played by our Pricipal Trombone, Sue Addison. This will be the first time it has been played in concert since Elgar’s death. Below are some links to various press stories and we’ll post some pics of the trombone very shortly.

The Times




Tom Service Guardian Blog

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Tony Robson on The Dream of Gerontius

Wed 18 Nov 2009

Ahead of our performance of it next week at Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall we asked OAE Principal Oboe and Gerontius enthusiast Tony Robson about the piece:

The Elgar ‘Dream’ is new ground for the OAE and presents lots of challenges to the orchestra but I fully expect it to rise to those challenges with its usual enthusiasm and determination. We are lucky to have  [ choir ] Ex Cathedra on board, as the choral writing in Gerontius is very demanding. It’s well known that the premiere of this work in Birmingham in 1900 (pictured) was little short of a disaster, the Chorus in particular being heavily castigated by the critics of the time. In their defence, there were particular difficulties which led to adequate preparation being well-nigh impossible; their excellent Chorus Master E. Swinnerton Heap suffered a fatal heart attack just months before the premiere and his tired and old replacement William Stockley was quite out of sympathy with both the content and demands of Elgar’s score. The composer and his publisher were both tardy in getting material out to the choir in good time and, unbelievably, the chorus only had their own single parts in their copies so that each section didn’t have the faintest idea what notes or rhythm their colleagues in the rest of the choir were singing! No wonder there were problems! We certainly won’t be having a repeat of that with our exceptional choir.

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New podcast: Sir Mark Elder talks about Maria di Rohan

Wed 4 Nov 2009

Our new podcast is just out and can be listened to below – and will be available on itunes shortly. It features singer Christopher Purves and conductor Sir Mark Elder talking about Donizetti’s Maria di Rohan and OAE Principal Oboe Anthony Robson talking abour Elgar’s Dream of Gerontius.

You can also download the podcast here.

Please note that the clip from Maria Di Rohan (supplied with thanks to Opera Rara) is not from the forthcoming recording but is with Nelly Miricioiu and the Philharmonia Orchestra.

We perform Maria di Rohan at the Royal Festival Hall on 7 November (tickets), and The Dream of Gerontius at the Royal Festival Hall on 24 November (tickets), withe further performances in Birmingham Town Hall on 28 and 29 November (tickets).

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New season

Thu 16 Apr 2009

We talked a while back about the photoshoot for our new brochure. Well we’re now busy designing said brochure, but we thought you’d like a sneak peak at one of pics. Pictured (l-r) are Catherine Ford, Philip Bainbridge (and his dog), Katherine Hart, Neil McLaren and Jenny Bullock. The new season at Southbank Centre has just gone on sale – in a future post we’ll talk about what we’re all looking forward to most, but to just pick out a few obvious highlights we’ve got a complete run of Beethoven Symphonies, a very rare OAE venture into Elgar with The Dream of Gerontius, Donizetti’s opera Maria di Rohan (a collaboration with Opera Rara)  and a concert unpicking Mozart’s Symphony No.40 with the brilliant Marin Alsop.  You can look (and book, should you feel so inclined) at all the concerts here, and we’ll let you know when a downloadable brochure is ready. Happy browsing!

William, Marketing Director

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