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OAE photographer Joe Plommer appears to be able to capture a moment with his camera and present it in entirely different way from the way my memory recalls it now (above). He’s made me appear relaxed. I was far from it. And there were moments when I looked at Maggie (right) and was certain she probably wondered what the hell I was saying.

That’ll be the internal dialogue. I bet you.

Maybe it was the drink. Between you and me, I’d had a glass of red wine before arriving at the Star of Kings pub to ‘compere’ the OAE’s inaugural Mini Night Shift concert. I had a strong black coffee while I waited for the rehearsal to finish, and then a beer before my first moment on stage delivering the very important message: “Ladies and Gentlemen, the gig will start in ten minutes time.”

The truth is that I’ve always rather fancied doing this line of work. As I’ve said before, Alistair Appleton makes it look really easy. Surely, if I try and cultivate a similar image that should do the trick, shouldn’t it?

That was my thinking selecting the checked shirt I received the day before on my birthday. But by the time approximately 200 people had packed into the pub and the band had marked out their territory on stage, I quickly began to realise this was going to be a good deal more difficult than standing in front of a camera and waxing lyrical about the best way to listen to Beethoven 9.

What represented the massive learning curve for me in what amounted to my first stint behind the microphone was to what extent the presenter is incidental to events on stage. And in an intimate space like the Star of Kings that was a point which became even more important, not least because Matthew Truscott, Maggie Faultless and Robin Michael are all such dab hands at introducing the music anyway. Matthew especially seems more than happy to whip up the crowd into a mild frenzy (the line about ‘wives always end up killing their husbands’ certainly resulted in a discernible collective intake of breath). Read the rest of this entry »

We’ll surely do a proper blog about last night’s Night Shift pub gig soon, but here’s a quick roundup with pictures and your feedback. Huge thanks to everyone who came along – we couldn’t have fitted many more of you in! A full set list will follow shortly.

“this was a great night out “
Bachtrack review

Twitter feedback:

@rubertg: Was at @theoae’s Purcell In The Pub last night. Fabulous evening, sweaty, beery, noisy, tuney. Like being there the first time around.

@katysaustin: Fun, rustic pub ‘n’ Purcell chez @theoae last night; @thoroughlygood as compere.

@kitmonsters: Fab pub gig @theoae setting a new benchmark for vintage kit ;) + gorgeous tuneage from DJ @rocking_bob @bobpetesarah St Etienne

@paulcampy: fantastic music at #TheNightShift courtesy of @theoae – but a bit of a shame either venue too small or too many tickets sold.

Audience comments

 

Pics (all by Joe Plommer)

There are two weeks to go until our first ever Night-Shift-in-a-pub on 8 September. Here’s a little video preview. If you watch it and are subsequently desperate to buy tickets you can do that here. By the way, does anyone know what the background music is? It’s insanely catchy…

While on tour in Holland earlier this year we set OAE Projects Manager Megan Russell a challenge. She’d taken our little camera with her to take footage – but could she somehow find a complete A-Z of things in the tour?

Here’s the result, and we have to admit that its one of our favourite videos. Particular highlights include E for Enclosing Dyke and B for ‘is it Broken?’…

Enjoy!

16th Century pub

Hopefully there wont be too much of the activity that's going on bottom right...

Next month we’re trying something a little different and taking our late-night series, The Night Shift to everyone’s favourite place – the pub.

It’s an idea we’ve bandied around for a little while here in the OAE office, but recently we decided to JFDI, as we say in our strange office lingo. (Just Flipping Do It)…

The idea is simple, downsize the Night Shift and perform in a pub.  We love the idea of it being a super-intimate event with the audience being really close to performers, and being in a pub, standing, with a pint in hand, should work well with the whole Night Shift informality thing. Plus our Night Shift audience is always telling us they want more regular events – so this is a handy way of having events in between the main shows. Read the rest of this entry »

landslide

The cause of our all our transport problems...

On Monday, players and management got caught up in the chaos of the landslide at East Croydon station. Here’s how we got (most of!) them to the performance on time, with a few stand-ins in unusual places…

[Curtain up was supposed to be at 5.15…]

How Megan (Projects Manager, standing in for Philippa, the Orchestra Manager) got to Glyndebourne:

Departure: 11.55 from Vauxhall (She was hoping to have a swim before the show!|)

Train Vauxhall – Clapham Junction

Train Clapham Junction – East Croydon

Oh dear, about 1000 people waiting for rail replacement bus services to Gatwick Airport outside the station and no taxis to be found…

Walk to West Croydon

Train West Croydon – Sutton

Train Sutton – Dorking (made the train by about 1 minute)

[Briefly met her Mum to pick up some bits for tour the following day!]

Train Dorking Deepdene – Redhill

Train Redhill – Gatwick Airport

It’s now about 3.30…

Train Gatwick Airport – Brighton (Stopping at EVERY station en route)

Train Brighton – Lewes

Taxi to Glyndebourne

Arrival: 4.45 Read the rest of this entry »

Kings Lynn family concert

Kings Lynn family concert

One of the things I most love about playing with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment (OAE) is the variety- the spice of a freelance musician’s life.

I’m currently halfway between Kings Lynn and Glyndebourne (somewhere in Essex): halfway between schools and family concerts of Don Giovanni and the second night of Rinaldo: halfway between an audience of hundreds who had never been in the same room as an opera singer before, and an audience famously passionate about opera.

Just to put your minds at rest, I’m not actually driving as I type.

Forget the vuvuzelas – for me there’s nothing like the sound of 300 children buzzing with anticipation and excitement before the start of a schools’ concert. The children in Kings Lynn were there as composers, performers, and audience. You ain’t heard nothing till you hear the Corn Exchange full of children singing Fin ch’han dal vino. They loved it so much they just couldn’t stand still as they sang it.

They were guided through the concert by the fantastic James Redwood and OAE Education Director Cherry Forbes as they heard about the dastardly Don Giovanni, listened to the OAE play Mozart, performed their new songs and of course heard Real Live Opera Singers from Glyndebourne…the ones that don’t need microphones! Read the rest of this entry »

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.

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.

So the previous post clearly stumped you, though someone over on Facebook did guess one correctly! Both are violinists, with Catherine Mackintosh on the left in the ‘happy’ mask and Matthew Truscortt in the ‘grumpy’ mask. So what’s with the masks you might ask? Well, as part of our The other amazing Mr Bach CPE Bach study day tomorrow, Catherine and Matthew, along with Steven Devine (harpsichord) and Jonathan Manson (cello), are performing CPE Bach’s Trio Sonata Sanguineas and Melancholius. Back in his time it was thought that the human body was filled with four substances (humors), which in balance made for a healthy person. The ancient names for these are Sanguine, Choleric, Melancholic and Phlegmatic, with the theory being known as humorism.

Each of the humors has a characteristic, so Sanguineas is a lively, fun, bubbly and vivacious character. On the other hand Melancholius is a rather dour, sad and pessimistic individual. In CPE Bach’s piece (which is being performed in the afternoon session of our study day, together with a discussion after) the two violins play these characters, hence the masks, which yes, will get worn for the performance.

Sanguineas has a chirpy upbeat little melody, while Melancholius’s tune is slow, sad and long. Sanguineas constantly tries to cheer Melancholius up, interrupting his melody and being relentlessly upbeat. Eventually the upbeat nature of Sanguineas wins and the two end up playing the same tune. It’s CPE Bach’s only piece of programmatic music (i.e. music which evokes a non musical source, such as a story or poem) and really is a fasinating and quirky little piece.

Come and hear it and enjoy the battle of happy and sad at the Purcell Room on Saturday at 2pm. There’s also a 10.30am Session which focuses more on musicology and context for CPE bach’s music.

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