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OAE Tots go Strings: what you heard

Mon 15 Apr 2013

© Anna D'Emilio

We had great fun in our OAE Tots go Strings concert on Saturday and hope you did too. If you’d like to know a bit more about what we played, read on:

Most of our concert was made up of Telemann’s Don Quixote pronounced ‘Don Keyshot’. See what we did there with our donkey theme! This is a wonderful suite (collection of short pieces) by Telemann based on the 17th century Spanish story.  A while back, Richard Strauss was credited with writing programme music depicting stories in music, but you can see Telemann was at it about 200 years earlier.

This story is about the adventures of Don Quixote on his horse Rosinante, accompanied by his peasant squire Sancho Panza on his mule (that donkey theme again). Telemann’s pieces are titled Overture, The Awakening of Don Quixote, His Attack on the Windmills, His Amorous Sighs for Princesse Dulcine,  Sancho Panza is Mocked (tossed in a blanket), The Gallop of Rosinante, The Gallop of Sancho Panza’s Mule, Don Quixote at rest.

Donkey crept through the woods to part of the ‘Surprise’ Symphony by Haydn (second movement) and Teddy Bears’ Picnic was an arrangement by one of our own OAE viola players, Annette Isserlis.

The presenters for this concert were Cecelia Bruggemeyer and Susie Carpenter-Jacobs. And special thanks to our very willing and enthusiastic Education Officer Ellie Cowan, for her donkey work.

We look forward to seeing you again at future events. Check out our Education pages for events coming up soon.

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Not all tours are the same…

Mon 3 Dec 2012

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Not all tours are the same…

…so we found out when OAE violinist Susie Carpenter-Jacobs went behind the scenes for us back in May, when we took our Bostridge sings Bach concert on tour to Warsaw, Dresden, Prague, Vienna and Innsbruck.

Her video postcard gives a snapshot of what our musicians get up to whilst away on international tours, including snowball fights, beautiful views, some rather rude water fountains and of course, some wonderful music-making…

For more information on future OAE concerts and tours, visit our What’s On pages.

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Susie’s mid-tour blog: drama off-stage

Fri 1 Jul 2011

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Violinist Susie Carpenter-Jacobs sent us this blog from mid-way through our tour with Sir Simon Rattle the other week:

There’s been hectic activity in the orchestra this week: Haydn and Mozart have been jostling for supremacy in the hands of Sir Simon Rattle and the Labèque sisters, from Luxembourg, to Paris, Dublin and the Royal Festival Hall; rehearsals for Handel’s Rinaldo have started in London, and Don Giovanni continues to seduce the ladies at Glyndebourne.

As a Don Giovanni stage-band participant for the first time this year, it has been instructive to discover that, while lust, death and deception is pouring forth from stage and pit (and that’s before curtain up), stage-band life itself involves skulking around the murky underworld of props cupboards and scenery stores down in the depths of the opera house, whilst keeping an eye on the clock and an ear to the back stage relay system. For, every musician’s nightmare is to become aware that the cue to your vital musical moment has arrived whilst you are situated several staircases and corridors away from imminent action.

Last Sunday the classiest musical event at Glyndebourne took place during the first act of Don Giovanni, well away from the drama unfolding on the stage: a landmark, debut performance of “Knickerbocker Glory” given to a small, select audience by the youngest soloist to have played at the opera house this year – six year old Nona – daughter of Jo (violin) and Martin Lawrence (horn); delivered with style, panache and aplomb, in time honoured fashion in the OAE.

 

So brilliant was Nona’s playing that this correspondent was granted permission to join her for a triumphant encore – before the former collapsed in a heap, and the latter sprinted niftily down the aforementioned staircases and corridors to join stage band colleagues gathering in a storage cupboard.

For, over the Tannoy, Zerlina had launched into “Batti batti” and the cue for our brief appearance was approaching…

Susie Carpenter-Jacobs, violin

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Hop 'n drop to Perugia

Thu 28 May 2009

One Concert in the Life of a Touring Musician

So – how have we weathered these last eleven days?

To summarise: four concerts in three venues: Kings Place, the Queen Elizabeth Hall and St. George’s Bristol; three days of ‘Giulio Cesare’ at Glyndebourne; two days of rehearsals at Maida Vale studios, rounded off with a one-night dash to Perugia. Perhaps the deafening silence during the four-hour coach journey from Perugia back to Bologna airport on Monday morning speaks for itself.

The Italian bit began on Sunday with an alarm call at 5.30 a.m. in a hotel near Gatwick. Those awake enough to think of it, boarded the airport bus last in order to get to the check-in desk first, ahead of the double basses, timps and cellos. For, without such tactics, the best-laid plans for a leisurely breakfast and a strong cup of coffee, prior to take off, can fade slowly into a distant dream as time drips by in the first of the interminable queuing procedures that are the hallmark and curse of air travel. Even getting through security can induce moments of character-building restraint. For, on various memorable occasions in the past, instrumentalists have been ordered to hand over tuning forks, hundreds of pounds worth of spare strings and vital, expensive reed-making knives and pliers – packed into suitcases nowadays. As musicians, possibly the most profound question to be asked during the whole tedious business is: “Any sharp instruments in your hand luggage?”

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