On 12 June we close our Southbank 2013-2014 Season with Gamechangers: Mildly Rude?, so called for its inclusion of Boyce’s Solomon – A Serenata, which caused outrage when performed in front of Victorian audiences.Read More
Last night saw the UK premiere of Rameau’s Zaïs at Queen Elizabeth Hall, conducted by Jonathan Williams. Here’s what you had to say about it…Read More
In preparation for the UK debut of Rameau’s Zaïs, here are 7 things you (probably) didn’t know about composer Jean-Philippe Rameau.Read More
Many of you joined us in Basingstoke on 19 March and at London’s Queen Elizabeth Hall on the 25th, to hear Sigiswald Kuijken and the Orchestra perform music from Bach, Corelli and Vivaldi on the long forgotten violoncello da spalla. It’s an instrument that tends to divide people and the press were no exception…Read More
The past month at the OAE has been filled with various animal-related hilarity, involving two of my favourite education events so far; OAE TOTS Animal Time, and the Carnival of the Animals family concert.Read More
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…Read More
There were steady tortoises, speeding fingers and even cops and robbers. But what did you have to say about our recent concert with Katia and Marielle Labèque…Read More
Katia and Marielle Labèque join us tonight for a concert of Saint-Saëns and Ravel at The Hexgaon in Reading, then tomorrow we’re at Southbank Centre’s Queen Elizabeth Hall for Fancy That!, our family concert at 11.30am and French Fancies at 7pm. They took time out from rehearsals to give us a taste of what we can expect.
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It is our great pleasure to announce that actor Samuel West will be narrating our French Fancies concerts, in Reading and London, on 19 & 20 February. Samuel will be accompanying the Labèque sisters on stage and reading Ogden Nash’s libretto to Saint-Saens’ Carnival of the Animals. Here’s a bit about his previous work…Read More
Tomorrow night we head over to Queen Elizabeth Hall for a step-by-step guide to one of Beethoven’s favourite works; Symphony No. 8. Here’s a look at what you can expect.Read More
On 31 October, we’ll be at the Queen Elizabeth Hall for a concert celebrating Arcangelo Corelli and the composers he inspired. Here’s a few things you might not know about him.Read More
We’re very pleased to announce that we’ve added a concert entitled Mildly Rude? to our 2013/2014 Southbank Centre season. Rounding off our Gamechangers series, it’s a opportunity to hear music from one of Britain’s unsung classical heroes, William Boyce.Read More
V4: The Seasons will see the OAE in a unique event that mixes period performance with the contemporary choreography of Henri Oguike. We met up with dancer Rhiannon Morgan at rehearsals to find out more about how she got in to dance.Read More
Antonio Lucio Vivaldi was born in Venice. He was baptized immediately after his birth by the midwife, which led many people to believe his life was somehow in danger. The real reason is still not known for sure, some argue it was due to ill health while others state that an earthquake the same day led his mother to be in constant fear for her son’s life. As a result, Vivaldi’s mother dedicated him to the Priesthood.
Our conductor-less performance at the Queen Elizabeth Hall last night was broadcast live on BBC Radio 3 and is now available to listen to on BBC iPlayer until next Thursday 10 May. Enjoy!Read More
On Sunday we performed an all-Bach concert at the Queen Elizabeth Hall in London, and caught up with the audience afterwards to find out what they thought of it.
There are further chances to hear the concert in Bradford-on-Avon tomorrow, 9 March, and in Birmingham’s Town Hall on 10 March.Read More
Giving a world premiere of a new work is, understandably, a rareity for the OAE. It’s not totally unknown however, and we have performed new pieces by Mark Anthony Turnage, Jonathan Dove and Heiner Goebbels in the past. Indeed the Goebbels has become something of a signature piece for us and the London Sinfonietta, with us notching up several performances now, across Europe and the USA.
This Sunday sees us give our latest premiere, this time by Sally Beamish. It is part of Music 20×12, 20 new works commissioned by the PRS for Music Foundation for the Olympic Year. Scored for strings only, it is set to text by The Times columnist Melanie Reid, and we are very pleased to have secured actress Juliet Stevenson to narrate it.
Sally Describes the piece in her programme note:
“I have known Melanie Reid, and enjoyed her writing, ever since I moved to the Stirlingshire village where we both live, in 1996. When she had her devastating riding accident in 2010, and began writing ‘Spinal Column’ in The Times, I followed it every week.
The idea of working with her came to me when the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment asked me for suggestions for a PRS for Music Foundation New Music 20×12 Cultural Olympiad commission. To my delight, she agreed, and I received the text for Spinal Chords (her title) in May 2011.
It was hard to know how I could best serve the words, which I found deeply moving; but Melanie’s title gave me a good starting point: the idea of the chord as the backbone of the music. ‘Cords’ (without an ‘h’) also suggest strings, threads, linking and joining. I realised the role of the music should be as a backdrop for a very slow drama – that of Melanie’s ‘spinal journey’.
The decision to use an actor, rather than a singer, was to preserve the directness of the text, and of Melanie’s own voice.
I started with twelve chords, which are stated, very slowly, three times; each time in a different key. The chords themselves are closely linked to each other : each builds on the one before. The string orchestra is treated as a large chamber group, with 13 solo lines, and the chords are stated at first by broken-up groups of players, gradually consolidating into larger groups, and then with the addition of ornamentation, and later, scales. The music reflects the agonising slowness of recovery, and the gradual re-connecting as the body finds ways to heal.
The piece uses the distinctive techniques of Baroque string playing: expressive bowstrokes, with a minimum of vibrato. I also draw on the similarities between Scottish traditional ornamentation, and that of Baroque music.”
Today saw the first rehearsal of the piece, with composer Sally Beamish in attendance, and here are a few pictures of the rehearsal.
Sally will appear alongside violinist Matthew Truscott, who is directing the concert, on BBC Radio 3′s In Tune today from 5.45pm. If you miss it you can listen to it again here.
You can read more about the collaboration between Sally and Melanie in The Times here (subscribers only)
The World Premiere of Spinal Chords is at Southampton’s Turner Sims on Sunday 5 February, with the London Premiere at the Queen Elizabeth Hall on 10 [...]Read More
A few weeks ago we kicked off 2012 at the Southbank Centre with The Glory of Venice – a celebration of the music of Gabrieli. If you’re near Bristol there’s another chance to hear this concert at St George’s, on 19 February.
This Saturday at the Wiltshire Music Centre, and on Monday at the Queen Elizabeth Hall, we’re teaming up with star violnist Rachel Podger for a cocnert called 1700s London and the Fab Four. The Fab Four in question are composers all active in London in the 1700s – Haydn (who you hopefully know of!), Abel, Arne and JC Bach. Now, the last three may be a little less familiar to you. So we’ve put together a few little facts about them – and if you use Spotify you can also listen to a playlist of some of the music from the concert too.
Thomas Arne, 1710-1778
- British composer
– Composed Rule Britannia
– His version of God Save the King became the National anthem
– 1741: one of the very first composers to take legal action over musical copyright issues
– Thomas & Sally was the first English comic opera to be sung throughout without dialogue.
– Artaxerxes was one of the most influential English operas of the 18th century
Carl Friedrich Abel, 1723-1987
- He was principal viola da gamba and cello player in the court orchestra of JS Bach
– 1748: joined Johann Adolph Hasse’s court orchestra at Dresden at the recommendation of Bach.
– Formed famous Bach-Abel concerts.
– One of his works became famous due to a misattribution: in the 19th Century a manuscript of a symphony (no.3 in E flat. K.18) in the hand of Mozart was catalogued incorrectly in a complete edition of Mozart’s works. Only later was it discovered to be by Abel.
J C Bach, 1735-1782
- son of JS Bach
– Known as London Bach/ English Bach due to his time spent in the capital.
– Noted for influencing Mozart’s concerto style.
– Father JS Bach died when JC was 15 – perhaps suggesting why it’s difficult to find similarity between their work.
– JC’s style differs from his father’s and families: Galante style (which opposed Baroque’s intricate lines) with its balanced phrases, emphasis on fluid melody and little contrapuntal complexity. It preceded the classical style and renewed interest in counterpoint.
– The symphonies in the Work list for JC Bach in the New Grove Bach Family, listed 91 works but only half, 48, are considered authentic, the remaining 43-doubtful.
-JC Bach relatively rare in concert halls but now increasingly more recognised for its quality and significance.
In this latest video OAE violinist and musicologist Roy Mowatt explores what gives Handel’s music its mass, immediate appeal:
Join us tomorrow for A celebration of Handel, live at the Queen Elizabeth Hall.Read More