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Here’s the latest in our series of pre-concert talks which we’re making available as podcasts. In this talk from our Baroque. Contrasted. Festival, Tom Irvine, a music historian from the University of Southampton, talks about Bach’s Double Violin Concerto and Purcell’s Fairy Queen.

St George's, Bristol

St George's, Bristol - venue for our lunchtime concerts

One of the recurring fixtures in the OAE’s diary is our annual series of lunchtime concerts at St George’s, Bristol, one of our most regular venues out of London.

There are usually four lunchtime concerts in the series, given by the soloists of the Orchestra, which then go on to be broadcast by BBC Radio 3, and are also often performed elsewhere too – for example as part of our recent Baroque. Contrasted. festival at Kings Place. Indeed, if you scroll down to our April postings you’ll find some info on the composers featured – one example here.

The most recent set of these concerts is being broadcast this week by BBC Radio 3, and the music includes pieces by well known Baroque names such as Bach and Handel, alongside some real rarities. Of course, though they’re broadcast at lunchtime, through the BBC’s Listen Again feature you can listen anytime within a week after the broadcast date.

The BBC also produced a short film to accompany the concerts which features rehearsal footage plus interviews with musicians Margaret Faultless (violin) and Steven Devine (keyboard)

The programmes are being broadcast at 1pm Tuesday to Friday this week, and you can listen to them on the links below:

Tuesday – Refelctions on the Grand Tour – music for Cornetts and Sackbuts
Wednesday – Bach, Handel and Purcell – Wind soloists of the OAE
Thursday – Vivaldi and Corelli – String soloists of the OAE
Friday – Handel, Vivaldi and Coreli – Wind and String soloists of the OAE

Well I think we’re just about recovered from our Baroque. Contrasted. festival which we held at Kings Place the other week. It was certainly a pretty intense week, particularly for those who were here every day and night for five days! We had some great concerts, workshops and events, and trying to force myself to be a tenor in our Sing Baroque! event (I’m really a bass) was a particular highlight interesting moment for me…

It was great though to see so many people turn out for this event and for our Baroque from Scratch session(for amateur instrumentalists) too – we’re pretty sure to plan more events like this, together with our inreasingly popular TOTS concerts.

Anyway, after some of the concerts we caught up with you to find out what you thought – here’s what you said. Thanks to all for coming!

William Norris, Communications Director

Angry ZenWhen we did our ‘Green’ picture a while back we saw afterwards that on one of the shots we took our Digital Content Officer, Zen, had a particularly angry/shocked expression on his face…unusual for him given that, as his name suggests, he’s a particularly calm person.

Anyway – what do you think is on the piece of paper he seems to be reading? Or, what’s he thinking of saying? Post your suggestions here and our favourites will receive a pair of tickets to their choice of one of the following events this weekend at Kings Place:

Saturday 9 April at 12.30pm: Sing Baroque! Join OAE Co-Principal Keyboard Steven Devine to sing music by Purcell

Sunday 10 April at 11.30am: Coffee Concert with the OAE Experience Ensemble, directed by Alison Bury – music by Telemann, Boyce, Purcell and Handel.

Deadline for entries is 9pm tomorrow evening.

It’s the last day of our hugely exciting trivia section… *sob*

Here are the final titbits for your musical pleasure:

Johann Hermann Schein (1586-1630) was a German composer of the early Baroque era and was afflicted with poor health- his wife died in childbirth; four of his five children died in infancy; he died at age 44, having suffered from tuberculosis, gout, scurvy and a kidney disorder.

Hugh Aston (1485-1558) was an English composer of the early Tudor period. His initial salary at The Newarke (a musical institution in Leicester) was £10 a year, only £2 a year less than that of the Dean. Listen to his Hornpype (which we’re playing on Friday) here.

William Brade (1560-1630) was an English composer, violinist, and viol player of the late Renaissance and early Baroque eras and liked to change jobs frequently- during his career, he moved 13 times!

If you’d like to hear more music from these composers, why not try one of our hour-long concerts at Kings Place?

Concerts start tomorrow night from 6.45pm and more details can be found on our website.

Now you get to hear from a player rather than just office bods! In this latest vid OAE leader Matthew Truscott talks about the concert he has devised and is directing at Kings Place on 9 April, – a programme which features Purcell, Bach and Handel, including how the concert fits into the Baroque. Contrasted. theme of the festival.

Next up, another round of Baroque trivia.

As promised, here’s another dose of daily trivia for you, featuring some of the lesser known composers we’ll be showcasing this week at Kings Place:

Biagio Marini (1594-1663) was an Italian virtuoso violinist and composer of the first half of the seventeenth century who married three times and had five children.  He was the first composer to notate tremolo (trembling) effects into his music.

Francisco Correa de Araujo (1584-1654) was a notable Spanish organist, composer, and theorist of the late Renaissance as well as a priest.

Orlando di Lasso (1532-1594), a Franco-Flemish composer of the late Renaissance, was rumoured to have been kidnapped three times because of the singular beauty of his singing voice.

More random facts tomorrow!

We let three OAE office staff loose on camera to talk about our concerts at Kings Place this week – and here are the results. There is some logic to this as the staff have all been closely involved not just with co-ordinating running and marketing the events but also with devising some of the more unusual events, such as Barqoue from Scratch and Sing Baroque! Have a watch and do come along this week – and if you recognise us from the video do come and say hello! Next up is another video with OAE leader Matthew Truscott talking about the programme of Bach, Purcell and Handel he has devised for the festival.

Some more baroque trivia in the run up to our concerts at Kings Place this week. You can hear music from all the composers featured during our hour-long concerts this Thursday and Friday.

Tarquinio Merula (1594/5-1665) got into trouble with some of his students at a musical institution in Bergamo, and was charged with indecency. Listen to his Chiacona which features in Thursday’s concert

Giovanni Zamboni – whose exact dates are unknown –  was an accomplished composer for the theorbo as well as a jewel-maker and fine swordsman!

Bendinelli (1542-1617) was the author of the first known course of published trumpet lessons, Tutta L’arte Della Trombetta which gathered together the earliest known pieces for the clarino (higher) register, dating from 1584-88.

More trivia tomorrow, and we’ll be testing you all on Saturday!

Next week sees the start of our mini-festival at Kings Place, Baroque. Contrasted.

We kick off on 6 April with 5 days of concerts, talks, demonstrations and two chances to join the OAE.  Most of the composers we’ll be featuring should be pretty familiar- Vivaldi, Purcell, Bach-  but we’re also showcasing some of the lesser-known but equally brilliant artists of the time.

Ahead of the opening night, we thought we’d give you a bit of daily trivia on some of these mysterious musicians…

Gottfried Finger (1660-1730) left London in a hurry in 1701 after allegedly being Baroque Contrastedunjustly passed over for a composition prize. He financed his departure with the sale of a set of trio sonatas, of which Op 5 No.10 (which we play on 7 April) is unusually scored for recorder, cello (or bassoon) and continuo.

Alessandro Stradella (1639-1682) was murdered in Genoa just months after penning the wedding cantata Il Barcheggio, probably after an unwitting controversy over a woman (who preferred him to another man – the likely murderer).

Dario Castello (1590-?) has no biographical information at all; even his birth and death dates are unknown, although it is thought he may have died during the great plague of 1630. He was probably associated with St. Mark’s Basilica in Venice, where Claudio Monteverdi was maestro di capella.

For more info on the festival, including a free flippable brochure and details of how to book, visit oae.co.uk/kingsplace

Next time…find out why composer Merula got into trouble…

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