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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7 Things You (probably) Didn’t Know About Rameau

Tue 22 Apr 2014

In preparation for the UK debut of Rameau’s Zaïs, here are 7 things you (probably) didn’t know about composer Jean-Philippe Rameau.

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Anti-Valentine’s Playlist

Fri 14 Feb 2014

As couples all over the world exchange heart-shaped chocolate boxes and cuddle up to grey sad-eyed teddy bears, we thought we’d get in on the action.  So, here are some very un-romantic classical tunes, as voted for by the OAE Office.  Love you lots X X X

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Current Distractions (AKA a letter from America)

Fri 14 Dec 2012

So I’ve been charged with writing the latest edition of Current Distractions from across the pond (where I’m currently based, being on sabbatical from the OAE). I had thought that this would be a very USA specific list of distractions…but the world is an ever smaller place, thanks to the internet and social media, so this list is perhaps more global than local…

What do cheerleaders, the US army, Sesame Street and an orchestra have in common?
First up is a pop artist who seems to be everywhere at the moment. Carly Rae Jepson. Her insanely catchy “Call Me Maybe” is an earworm of a song that refuses to leave your head. Perhaps this explains the plethora of versions and rip-offs of her song that exist on youtube. I’m fascinated by what it is exactly that has caught people’s imagination with this song and just why it’s spawned so many imitations – is it simply because it’s catchy? And if so, what makes it so memorable?

Anyway, here are a few of those imitations. First up an insanely camp version by the US military, which was inspired by the Miami Dolphin’s cheerleaders version. Then there’s the cookie monster version. Obviously. But my favourite, and most relevant to this blog, is the version for choir and orchestra. It’s actually rather good and I love seeing how much fun all the performers  are having.

Continuing the theme

Psy’s Gangam Style has been one of the biggest global pop phenomenons of recent years, the result of a catchy song combined with a rather silly dance and a psychedelic video. The original is the most watched video of all time over on youtube and yesterday I found it had inspired a slightly unusual version in which Psy’s video is set to…Stravinksy’s Rite of Spring. It works oddly well…

Worst review ever?

This caused a stir over here last month, a rather unusual and (for those sat underneath) unpleasant night out at the theatre…

Click through to the Huffington Post for some other unusual arts and theatre happenings…

Does baby love Mozart? (or Metallica?)
A report from the UK side of the pond now. We all like to think we ‘know’ what ‘good’ music is, and often like to pass that very good taste onto our children. But is that really possible? The BBC investigates.

A dance show in your front room?

It can be a hassle going to the theatre. The tickets are expensive, you have to find someone for a rushed dinner first, then you sit in an uncomfortable chair (maybe behind a pillar) for two hours and then battle the transport system in the rain to get home afterwards. However Philadelphia based Headlong Dance Company have a solution – they’ll come to you. (As long as you open up your house to your neighbours). The project is neatly summed up on the companies website. Why? “Because every household is a universe/Because breaking bread with someone annihilates stereotypes/Because being the show is better than watching the show”.
Read more over on the Huffington Post

Now, who is up for some OAE concerts in their house while you do the washing up?

William Norris, Communications Director.


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OAE plays….Stravinsky?!

Fri 15 Oct 2010

Tomorrow night’s concert at Kings Place is a pretty unusual affair. Not only is it a joint concert with the London Sinfonietta, but the second half in particular sees four very unusual things occur. First, we merge with the London Sinfonietta, to create a new ensemble made up of players from both orchestras. Second, together, we play a brand new comission by Richard Causton, Dark Processional (in the spirit of the REMIX festival, it is based on music by Pergolesi). Third, in the second half of the concert, OAE players will use (fairly) modern instruments and play at modern picth. Last, but not least, we’re going to be playing Stravinsky (only the second time we have ever done so). The piece is Pulcinella, and it is the climax of the REMIX festival here. As you may know, it’s based on pieces by Pergolesi and other composers of his time – and we play these antecedents in the first half of the concert. So, all in all a pretty special event – and one thats not very likely to be repeated for a while!

Yesterday we caught up with OAE players who were at Kings Place for that evening’s concert and asked them about the experience of working with the London Sinfonietta and playing the music of Stravinsky:

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REMIX comes together

Wed 13 Oct 2010

Yesterday morning was the culmination of what seems like months if not years of work for our concert on Saturday night. A little more complicated than usual, this concert is a mixture of OAE and London Sinfonietta players (our very distant relations who we share an office with). As part of having our headquarters at Kings Place, we put on several concerts here throughout the year and this week is our REMIX festival, mixing all sorts of old and new including mixing up the two orchestras. This all started many moons ago when we decided to have an orchestra made up of players from both orchestras. After working out how to split the booking between the two orchestras, we then had to find OAE players who were happy to dust off their modern instruments to play some 20th century music – Stravinsky’s Pulcinella and a new commission by Richard Causton. Fixing a project with just one orchestra involved presents enough challenges, but dealing with two orchestras whose playing spheres never overlap presented quite a few more! Eventually we managed a final orchestra list, a final seating plan, the right music (we were helpfully sent the whole of the Pulcinella ballet parts instead of just the suite to start with!) and a rehearsal plan.

Sitting and listening to the rehearsal yesterday, it was really interesting to see a rare sight, OAE and LS players sitting side by side, and even stranger to see OAE players playing modern instruments. The rarest thing, however, was when the conductor, Nick Collon, announced that Richard Causton would be coming to the afternoon rehearsal – it’s not very often that the composer of the music OAE is playing turns up to a rehearsal!

Megan Russell, Projects Manager

Find out more about REMIX by downloding the brochure here.

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OAE visits re-rite

Fri 13 Nov 2009

Last week I went along to the opening of the Philharmonia’s re-rite installation on the Southbank. It’s a very hard thing to describe but its esentially an installation which allows you to get inside Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring. Each room of the fantastically atmospheric bargehouse (behind the OXO tower) is devoted to a different section of the Orchestra and you get to see and hear that section’s part of the music in ‘close-up’ but also as part of the whole piece. All the rooms play in sync so the whole building becomes infused with the rite. There are also chances to play the percussion in the piece and be the conductor. Anyway, its very hard to explain, so here are some pics. Its only on until the end of the weekend so I do encourage you to go!

William Norris, Marketing Director

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