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Spinal Chords now available to download

Wed 2 May 2012

Spinal Chords download

Our performance of Sally Beamish’s Spinal Chords, commissioned by the OAE for the New Music 20×12 initiative, has now been released on the NMC label and is available to download.

Recorded at its world premiere at Southampton’s Turner Sims concert hall, the performance features Juliet Stevenson narrating the text by writer Melanie Reid. You can find out more about the piece here.

Visit the NMC website for more information and to download the piece, which is available as an MP3 for 79p (FLAC 89p)

Spinal Chords is part of New Music 20×12, supported by the PRS for Music Foundation.


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Spinal Chords on the radio

Fri 20 Apr 2012

This Saturday there’s a chance to hear our performance of Sally Beamish’s new work Spinal Chords again, when it is broadcast on BBC Radio 3’s Hear and Now programme. The piece was recorded at it’s Queen Elizabeth Hall performance with narrator Juliet Stevenson reading Melanie Reids’s words and is one of the PRS for Music 20×12 comissions.

Hear and Now goes out tomorrow, 21 April, at 10.45pm on BBC Radio 3. It’s not often that the OAE is featured on a new music programme!

Find out more about Sally Beamish’s Spinal Chords

Pictured: Sally Beamish and Juliet Stevenson in rehearsal with us.

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Spinal Chords in pictures

Tue 27 Mar 2012

Last month we gave the world premiere performances of Sally Beamish’s Spinal Chords, one of the PRS for Music 20×12 comissions for the Olympic year. The music is set to text by Melanie Reid, and was for these first performances, narrated by Juliet Stevenson. Here are a few pictures from the rehearsal and London performance. All pictures by Joe Plommer.


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

Thu 9 Feb 2012

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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Sally Beamish and Melanie Reid talk about ‘Spinal Chords’

Thu 9 Feb 2012

Tomorrow night we bring Sally Beamish’s new piece, Spinal Chords, to London for its premiere in the Capital (above: in rehearsal). Its world premiere in Southampton on Sunday got a great reaction from the audience and the press, with The Times giving it 4 stars and commenting:

“Spinal Chords does not so much express as impress: the “’chords”’, played only on the “’cordes’” –  the stringed instruments of the OAE —- sear into the nerves as they are deconstructed, painfully built up, fall back again into stasis, then start to reconnect and grow into fragments of melody, motif and new motivation, shared among the band’s 13 soloists. And, finally, three gently vibrant, questioning chords. The audience becomes gradually and wonderfully aware that the musical process is an almost direct transcription of the physical one. In a work that is totally devoid of drama or self-pity, it is left to the listener to supply the emotional subtext.” Read the full review (Times Subscribers only)

The piece is set to text by Melanie Reid, and documents her journey from an accident which paralysed her through to now, as she strives to regain movement.

Members of OAE staff snuck into the rehearsal last Saturday and can confirm the piece’s emotional power – personally I found a tear in my eye within moments of it starting. At that rehearsal BBC Radio 4’s The World this Weekend were in attendance, and you can hear the report here, 23 minutes into the programme, with the report featuring footage from the rehearsal itself, giving you a sneak preview of the music.

Plus, here’s a video featuring both Sally and Melanie Reid, chatting about how the piece came about. Tickets are still availble for the concert tomorrow (10 February) at the Queen Elizabeth Hall.

Spinal Chords has been commissioned as part of New Music 20×12

William Norris, Communications Director

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