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Here’s a new little video with behind-the scenes footage from our last Night Shift at Village Underground in Shoreditch, including rehearsal footage and interviews with players. You also get to see how just much fun we had trying to get a taxi at half past midnight on very rainy Friday evening…
Night Shift fans might like to know that we have two events coming up in September – a ‘mini’ event on 8 September (more details soon) and a full-scale event on 29 September.
‘Foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man hath not where to lay his head’. Neither, from time to time, do musicians. During the Proms for example, morning rehearsals are held in the Albert Hall and the players are then released to roam the streets until the evening concert. If you visit Tate Modern, one of the cinemas in Leicester Square or a West End department store at about 3 o’clock in the afternoon, as like as not you will be rubbing shoulders with an oboist or a tuba player. Some take the opportunity to fit in a few hours teaching – and there is always The Pub. Why not go home for an hour or two? It is a common misapprehension that London musicians live in London. Either through choice or necessity, many live beyond the M25, and orchestral schedules frequently result in this temporary vagrancy.
On the last day of the OAE’s tour with Simon Rattle a 6am start (the third in as many days) brought the orchestra back to Heathrow at 10 am for a rehearsal in the Festival Hall at 5 pm followed by a concert and live broadcast. Of course a 6am start is the norm for many workers, but consider that musicians are expected to perform at the height of their powers between 7 and 10 pm, more than 12 hours after the alarm has interrupted their innocent dreams. It is not surprising that the search for an afternoon nap often features prominently in a musician’s day. Indeed, if some enterprising person were to invent a violin case that could convert into a comfortable inflatable mattress, they would be sure of a market, and one OAE double bass player has admitted to curling up inside his womb-like, padded case. On the morning in question a member of the Back Row hit upon an ingenious solution. Having gone to Liverpool St station to buy an advance ticket for her homeward journey after the concert, she noticed that the Norwich train was due to leave in ten minutes. Purchasing a day return to Colchester, she boarded the train, and was soon sleeping soundly. At Colchester she caught the next train back to London and was able to sleep for another hour. On reflection it is quite likely that she is not the only musician to have used the railways in this way. Next time you see someone asleep on a train in the middle of the afternoon, tap them on the shoulder and ask what instrument they play. You may be surprised at the answer.
Back Row Blogger
We’ve had SO much exciting stuff to talk about on the Blog that these vox pops from way back in May have got a little forgotten about. To jog your memory, in case you were there, the concert (reviews here) featured Artur Pizarro on the fortepiano playing Beethoven Piano Concerto No.4 plus the Orchestra, conducted by Roy Goodman playing Mozart Symphony 40 and Schumann Symphony No.4 (plus a rather unusual encore). Here’s what the audience made of it afterwards:
You may have noticed that the OAE blog has been a little quiet over the last week….sorry! The reason is that the OAE Communications team, who generally update it, have all been away at a conference for a few days, learning to refine the tools of our trade. We’ll be posting a report from the conference (the Arts Marketing Association conference) soon, so you can find out just what we’ve been up to, and in the meantime we have a whole host of new videos and articles for you…so normal service will resume shortly!
William Norris, Communications Director
We’re currently mid-way through the run of Rinaldo at Glyndebourne, and in this video OAE players talk about the Orchestra, their instruments and the opera – plus there’s special footage of rehearsals and the production.
Here’s a little audio-visual recap of The Night Shift which we held at Village Underground a few weeks back. Project Director Ceri’s account of how her Night Shift day went is below, but in this post we have a little video with footage from the event plus audience reaction – make sure you watch it right to the end…
A first post from our new back-row blogger – slightly delayed because of the amount of stuff we’ve been putting up here – apologies!
BLOG FROM THE BACK ROW
’It’s my birthday…..there’s a party….everyone is invited……Lucas Meachem’. I study the invitation pinned to the OAE notice board at Glyndebourne. ‘Who’s Lucas Meachem?’ I ask my colleague. She stares in disbelief. ‘Lucas Meachem? Don Giovanni?’ in a tone which also says ‘Hello, where have you been for the last three weeks?’ Well, I’ve been in my usual place on the back row in the pit and, unlike my violinist colleague, unable to see anything on stage. (Our view consists of the back of the flutes’ and oboes’ heads, the backs of the ‘cellos who are on a slightly raised platform, the conductor, more or less, very occasionally if we’re lucky the leader, and the front row of the audience, some of whom will be snoozing after the interval.) We can hear that there are people walking above our heads, and from far away comes the sound of singing, but I admit that our perspective on proceedings is limited. To enhance my experience I’ve watched the DVD of the production, filmed last year. It’s a revelation. That alarming thumping directly overhead in act 2 for example turns out to be Leporello hopping across the stage with his legs tied together. No need to worry. But the cast is different from this year’s and so for me, Gerald Finley is Don Giovanni – hence my puzzlement over the invitation. During the interval a cake is brought into the artists’ cafe and we all sing ‘Happy Birthday’. That must be the new Giovanni blowing out the candles. So, Lucas Meachem, now I know you (sort of) but you don’t know me, and I can hear you (sort of) though I don’t suppose you can hear me at all. But when you’re back on stage remember, as you get dragged down into hell – that faint bellowing from far below is The Back Row, blowing our brains out in a vain attempt to drown your screams.
Back row blogger, 18/06/2011
Friday saw the latest in our series of schools concerts at our London HQ, Kings Place. Around 400 children joined the OAE, and when we say joined, we really mean it – they helped swell the ranks of the Orchestra to unprecedented proportions! The event generated a fair bit of media interest, with our new OAE musicians appearing on the BBC London radio breakfast show and the concert also being covered by ITV’s London tonight – watch and listen below.
A day in the life of The Night Shift from Ceri’s perspective:
It’s 9.30am on Friday 24th June, It’s been a looooong week: Monday Dublin, Tuesday Royal Festival Hall, Wednesday and Thursday catching up and meetings – and that’s just for me! I assume it’s been worse for the players who also had Glyndebourne rehearsals on the intervening days… Anyway, I should be absolutely exhausted and dreading the prospect of working until at least 12am this evening, but I’m not – this is what we sometimes call “The Night Shift effect”. (editor – different to the ‘Night Shift hangover…)
I of course love working at all OAE concerts, but for me the Night Shift is something quite special, even if they are at least 10 times harder work – especially in a non-traditional concert venue such as Village Underground (no fixed stage, lights, music stands, seats, air-con, changing rooms – you get the picture). So much of Friday felt like venturing into the unknown, a new venue, new acoustics, not sure we’d all fit on stage, not sure if the musicians would be able to cope with the lack of dressing space, chilling areas (aka green room) etc.
Here is a timetable of my day on Friday and how I made it to 12am still full of beans.
9.30 Arrive at office after early morning gym session – going to need those endorphins to get me thorough today I can tell you.
10.00 Quick staff meeting just to make sure everyone is up to speed with all the arrangements and aware of their responsibilities tonight.
10.30 Pop down to Kings Place Music Foundation to pick up the lit stands (i.e.music stands with lights attached – for the darker ambience we use for The Night Shift) we’re borrowing for this evening Read the rest of this entry »