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It seems appropriate to tell you now (as we are currently, as I type, rehearsing with him) that a DVD of the OAE and conductorVladimir Jurowski has just been released. If you’re a regular OAE-goer you may remember him kicking off our Beethoven series back in January last year with a blazing performance of Symphonies 4 and 7. We later performed No.7 at the Roundhouse as a Night Shift, but after those two performances we went on to Paris and gave the concert again. There it was streamed live and that recording has now been released on DVD. It’s shot (to my mind at least) in a a really exciting way, so you often feel like you’re really inside the Orchestra, and it’s fascinating watching Vladimir, his expressions  and his cues to the Orchestra – not something you often see when you watch a concert from the audience. You can get a taster of the DVD on the clip below:

 

The DVD is available now, from, as they say, all good shops. Of course, the BEST shop is the OAE website, and you can buy it through us here. Our shop will be much improved when our new website goes live. More on that soon…

William Norris, Communications Director

As has become customary at this time of year we asked around the office and orchestra for people’s top OAE moments of 2010. There are definitely a few trends in the below… and we’d love to know what your top OAE moments of the year were too.

It’s difficult for me to decide whether Beethoven with Iván Fischer or Bach with John Butt wins my best moment of 2010? I’vedecided it’s John Butt because I have not worked with him as a director before. John is a leading Bach scholar and there were constant pearls of wisdom and humour (always a good thing in rehearsals). He is such an open and physically uninhibited musician. One of my favourite moments was when he asked us to be like evil black poodles—- all I could think of was Cruella de Vil! Not very 18th century but it worked.

Martin Kelly, Viola and Vice-Chairman

It was definitely Don Giovanni at Glyndebourne which I had the pleasure of watching twice; firstly on our annual office trip and the next time with my mum when we were caught in the worst downpour of the summer. The poor dressed up Glyndebourne-dwellers were darting, bubbly in arms, into any available shelter possible during the interval and it was a sorry, soggy lot of us who trudged back into the performance. It was my mum’s first visit to Glyndebourne though and she didn’t care at all. Don Giovanni was amazing all the way through but I especially loved the very end. Those dramatic scales over the descending bass line plus the Commendatore bellowing ‘Don Giovanni!’ certainly made for a spine tingling death scene!

Natalie Chivers, Education Projects Manager

I loved the Creation education project.

The chaos of moving 800 children that preceeded and followed the event was quite something; the silence and concentration of all those pupils watching and engaged during the performance in a packed Queen Elizabeth Hall was striking. I had great fun and learnt a lot about DNA!

The Night shift at the Roundhouse in January was amazing too.

Isabelle Tawil, Development Manager, Individual Giving

Without a doubt, the Iván Fischer Beethoven concerts in March – particularly at the Lincoln Center in New York where we gave two concerts as part of a complete cycle of the Symphonies with Iván’s “other” Orchestra, the Budapest Festival Orchestra, which gave two concerts as well.  The audience reaction and Iván’s inspiring and totally unique conducting style produced electrifying musical moments of the year.

Stephen Carpenter, Chief Executive Read the rest of this entry »

Here’s a selection of reviews from our recent performance of Beethoven Symphony No. 9 at the Royal Festival Hall with conductor Ilan Volkov (who stepped in for Sir Charles Mackerras at the last minute). The performance is available to listen to on radio 3 here until Tuesday20 April.

The Times

Guardian

Financial Times

MusicOMH

Classical Source

As you may know conductor Ilan Volkov replaced Sir Charles Mackerras for our concert of Beethoven Symphony 9 last  Friday at the Royal Festival Hall. The concert also toured to Valladolid, in Spain and Spanish newspaper El Mundo asked Ilan a few questions ahead of the

Ilan Volkov

performance:

What was it like to take over this project at such short notice?
How do you organise and prepare yourself mentally to conduct – unexpectedly – such a huge work as Beethoven’s 9th?

Luckily I conducted Beethoven 9th at the the Proms last summer so it’s fresh in my mind. Its very exciting to do this with period instruments- there are so many details that sound completely different. Quite amazing. With these instruments one really feels the radical nature of the work and how modern it still is. I’ve admired the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment for a long time so its a fantastic thing to work with them for the first time.
Tell us about your vision of this work as the conductor

The 9th has so much in it. In many ways its an utopian work of art ,way ahead of its time. Each movement has such a distinctive character so that when the last movement begins the listener has travelled far. And then this monumental movement opens more doors and has such power that it is impossible to stay unmoved. For each musician in the orchestra and choir this work demands total commitment and strength, but it also gives many rewards both to player and listener. Read the rest of this entry »

How does one reawaken a concert programme last performed, as was the situation with our first New York concert, some three weeks earlier? In the case of a conductor like Iván Fischer, with a mixture of playful concepts which help to unlock profound ideas; and, in the case of a slightly jet-lagged orchestra, by allowing us to be carried by the strength of the music and forget that an 8pm concert in New York is, in fact, a midnight concert in the UK (North America went over to summer-time a week earlier than Europe, so for that particular week there was only a four-hour time difference).

OAE and BFO at Lincoln Center

In London, the two programmes with Iván formed part of our Beethoven Cycle which is taking place this spring (2010). However, in New York, it was a very different kind of Beethoven cycle. The result of a brainchild, nurtured by Jane Moss (vice-president of programming at Lincoln Center) for the past six years, had Iván conducting all nine symphonies in four consecutive days; with OAE on original instruments for the first two concerts (symphonies 2 & 3 and symphonies 1, 8 & 5) followed with his own orchestra, the Budapest Festival Orchestra, on conventional instruments, also performing two concerts (symphonies 4 & 7 and symphonies 6 & 9). Unfortunately, OAE had to return home without hearing either the BFO rehearsals or concerts. However, members of the BFO did come to our second rehearsal and this provided an opportunity for a group photo featuring both orchestras. It was great to meet our Hungarian colleagues and a special pleasure for me to meet up again with Gaby, Iván’s wife and superb flute player. Read the rest of this entry »

Here’s a selection of reviews from our concerts at the Southbank with Iván Fischer recently.

4 March (Symphonies 2 & 3)

The Times
Guardian

The Arts Desk

10 March (Symphonies 1,8 & 9)

Independent
Guardian

Both concerts were broadcast on BBC Radio 3 and you can still listen to Symphonies 2&3 here until tomorrow and 1, 8 & 5 here until next Monday.

We’re repeating the concerts in New York next week – with the Budapest Festival Orchestra also playing at Lincoln Center at the same time, so between us we’ll play a whole Beethoven cycle, all conducted by Iván Fischer. The only small fly in the ointment at the moment is the BA strike, so while we can get there we’re not entirely sure how we’re getting home yet…

We kicked off our Beethoven Symphony Series on Thursday at the Queen Elizabeth Hall, with Vladimir Jurowski conducting Symphonies 4 and 7. Here’s what the press thought

Guardian

Financial Times

Telegraph

Independent

Another new podcast – this time looking at our upcoming concerts at Southbank Centre. Vladimir Jurowski talks about the Beethoven series and Symphonies 4 and 7, while OAE Leader Alison Bury also talks about Beethoven before moving onto our upcoming Vivaldi concert in April. Listen to the podcast here or download it on itunes.

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