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OAE at the Usher Hall

OAE at Edinburgh's Usher Hall

If a change is as good as a rest then we OAE musicians should be well refreshed after this summer.

For me one of the highlights was playing the rarely performed Liszt Faust Symphony, a piece that required us to expand our numbers somewhat. One day we were a double bass section of two playing Handel’s Rinaldo at Glyndebourne, the next a section of eight, rehearsing Liszt, and what a fab eight it was!

It was a delight to be joined by bassists from other symphony and chamber orchestras – a chance to exchange musical ideas, and find out how things are done elsewhere. The wealth of information was mind boggling, from knowledge of instruments, players and conductors, to the best restaurants in Warsaw, – and it was very good.

We at the OAE are different to most orchestras, symphonic or chamber, in that the size of orchestra fluctuates all the time depending on the repertoire and the venue (Three players in a pub last week, I hear, taking The Night Shift new places). So when we come together for a big project such as the Faust Symphony we may not have worked with many of our colleagues for a year or more. The first rehearsal has a real sense of ‘getting to know you’ as we all have our antennae out to the max – listening, adjusting, blending.

What I’ll never forget about this Liszt project is the way that this large gathering of wonderful, talented players, came into focus as a cohesive whole. The feeling was almost physical; a seismic, earth-trembling sense of plates coming together to form a new musical land. Fanciful language, maybe, but the fantastic resulting concerts, such as the one at the Edinburgh Festival, will stay in the memory for a long time.

Cecelia Bruggemeyer, Double Bass

We’re really excited to be part of the Edinburgh International Festival and are taking our tour with the brilliant Vladimir Jurowski to the Usher Hall tonight where he’ll be conducting a programme of Weber, Liszt’s dramatic Faust Symphony and Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto in E with Alina Ibragimova.

Here’s a taster of what’s to come tonight, plus why the OAE can be compared to a very famous cat and mouse duo…

 

Tickets for the concert can be bought online or by phoning the EIF Box Office on 0131 473 2000.

Later this week we’re reunited with our Principal Artist, Vladimir Jurowski to start rehearsals for a tour with him. The first two dates of the tour take in San Sebastian and Edinburgh (for the festival), with a programme of Weber, Mendelssohn (the violin concerto with Alina Ibragimova) and Liszt’s epic Faust Symphony. While you may know the Weber and Mendelssohn, you may well not know the Liszt, so we’ve put together a Spotify playlist of the entire programme for your listening pleasure. More on the tour in due course…

After the last Night Shift back in January, where Vladimir Jurowski conducted us in music by Mahler and Liszt, our brave man-with-a-cam, Zen, asked the audience: ‘How was it for you?’

Here’s what people said:

Here’s a little video diary from our trip to Paris back in January, when we took a supersized OAE there for a concert of Wagner, Liszt and Mahler with conductor Vladimir Jurowski and mezzo soprano Sarah Connolly. We armed Communications Director William Norris with a video camera, and here are the results:

We’ve had a bit of a backlog of videos here, so these audience vox pops have been somewhat delayed. But they’re here now. After our Symphonic Enlightenment programme of Wagner, Mahler and Liszt at the Royal Festival Hall back on 21 January we asked audience members what they had made of the performance (with conductor Vladimir Jurowski and soloist Sarah Connolly). Here’s what they said:

Regular readers of this blog or our Facebook Page will know we were due to interview Vladimir Jurowski back in December. Well, that didn’t happen as he wasn’t too well, and about to embark on a big tour. We did however catch up with him last week, when he was with us conducting the Symphonic Enlightenment programme. We’d like to say a big thank you to him for giving up some of his hectic schedule to speak to us – particularly given that a) He still wasn’t 100% well, as evidenced by the tissue clutched in his hand and b) his schedule really is super-packed – he didn’t even have any time off over Christmas!

Anyway, we had a bit of a backlog of videos last week, so this is a little late but hopefully still interesting. Vladimir talks to us about his concerts of Wagner, Mahler and Liszt with us, about how he ‘met’ the OAE and about our late-night Night Shift concerts. The next chance to hear our partnership with him will be this summer – details to be announced. Enjoy – and remember you can still listen to Friday’s concert for a few more days here.

We’re back from Paris and a second performance of our Symphonic Enlightenment programme of Wagner, Mahler and Liszt. First reviews from Friday’s performance are now in too – mainly from bloggers and online. Hopefully the Nationals will follow tomorrow. Thanks so much for the comments posted on our blog, You Tube video and also for the many Tweets we’re had as well. It’s always great to get such instant feedback!

Radio 3 recorded Friday’s concert at the Royal Festival Hall and you can listen to it at 7pm tonight, or online here for 7 days after.

Also coming up on the blog – a video interview with conductor Vladimir Jurowski, a round up of Night Shift news, pictures from Paris and a Parisien tour diary. Plus a parting shot from our intern Ingrid.

MusicOMH

Classical Source

BachTrack

Tonight we play our Symphonic Enlightenment programme at the Royal Festival Hall - a late romantic programme of Wagner, Mahler and Liszt with 90 players on stage. For us, a huge undertaking. Parts of the programme had their first airing on Wednesday at our (Sold out) Night Shift, but tonight will be the first time that Sarah Connolly joins us to sing Mahler’s Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen (well, not quite first, we have obviously rehearsed it!).  We caught up with her earlier this week to ask her about the piece:
(Click through to YouTube to watch in HD)

In our latest video ahead of our concerts of Mahler, Wagner and Liszt this week we speak to our Principal Flute, Lis Beznosiuk. She talks about which flutes she is using for the concert, a task made difficult by the quite wide period of time (and hence flute-evolution) that the music spans, and also about why she loves Mahler so much.

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