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“My picks of the season: All of them of course….but if I really have to make a choice I’m really looking forward to the French romantic programmes. I can’t agree with Mendlessohn – I love Berlioz’s orchestration and particularly the subtle and effective ways he uses the double bass, and I can’t wait to hear what Debussy’s La Mer sounds like on period instruments. But just as exciting is the prospect of working with Laurence Cummings and the amazing energy and colour he brings to Handel and Bach, And then there’s the fab soloists like Levin, and Bostridge, and Podger, and Isserlis, and Faust and, and, and…you see I’m back where I started: all of them!
Cecelia Bruggemeyer, Double Bass
I’m very much looking forward to the Glory of Venice in January. The Monteverdi Vespers in 2010 was such a wonderful project I’ve been wanting to do more of that repertoire ever since. The Choir of the Enlightenment were fantastic and Rob Howarth has real insight into that style. For the Vespers I bought a new instrument – a beautiful copy of a Spanish bajon tuned in Dorian Mode – and it hasn’t had an outing since then! I’m also really looking forward to Romeo and Juliet with a team of four bassoons all playing early 19th century French originals – that’s a real rarity!
Andrew Watts, Bassoon
The French programme with Sir Simon Rattle in June is particularly exciting and challenging for the OAE’s timpani and percussion players. Spending our lives firmly in the rhythm section in classical repertoire, through the second half of the 19th century composers started to use timpani more as a harmonic instrument and percussion to create tone colours and effects. As the OAE branches out once again into a new area, we’ve got to select our instruments carefully with Debussy’s fascination with oriental music firmly in mind.
It’s reasonable to assume that Debussy’s La Mer , with its exotic influences and soporific moods, to be solely influenced by the Mediterranean, but it’s an interesting fact that Debussy actually finished the composition during an extended stay in Eastbourne! I haven’t yet been able to identify the “kiss-me-quick”, fish ‘n’ chips and donkey rides influences of the British seaside, but I’m sure they’re there somewhere…. Definitely one for a pub quiz….!
Adrian Bending, Timpani
Earlier this month, I travelled with a group of our patrons to Austria for a performance by the OAE in the Schloss Esterházy in Eisenstadt. Haydn worked in the Esterházy for over 30 years and it seemed a perfect time for this trip to celebrate Haydn’s Bicentenary.
After a hassle-free flight to Vienna we travelled to Eisenstadt, which is approximately 1 hour from the airport. That evening we dined outdoors at a lovely restaurant directly opposite the Schloss Esterházy. We sat outside to make the most of the balmy evening but blankets were a nice touch as the night turned cooler.
Morning walking tour of the Jewish Quarter, Haydn Mausoleum and Schloss Esterházy, along with hordes of other tourists. The patrons then spent the afternoon in Hungary and thoroughly enjoyed visiting the Eszterháza.
We were all very excited about hearing the Orchestra perform in the Haydnsaal. As always, the Orchestra played beautifully and the acoustics were simply superb. Following the concert, Laurence Cummings and some of the other players from the OAE joined us for a hearty feast. We enjoyed a seasonal dinner, starting with pumpkin soup, which was the best I have ever had!
Back to London with long delays checking into Heathrow…
Claire Lenyk, Development Manager, Individual Giving
A couple of pics from our trip to Eisenstadt last week – showing the Palace and conductor Laurence Cummings chatting with Ton Koopman of the Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra who were also performing there. A full report coming soon!
Click here for a more ‘official’ review from The Times.
An audience members review from our concert at the Queen Elizabeth Hall on 10 March:
I am not really qualified to pass comment on the performance of the OAE as I am a very amateur musician (I pay to be allowed to play the trumpet and as far as my wife is concerned, the best present she ever gave to me was a practice mute), however, I was at the concert so here goes……
A few gripes first:
My seat had been sold to someone else as well as me! The other person let me have the seat (thank you) and was then re-seated in a much better position (a just reward).
The QEH was a bit on the warm side.
The stage was very squeaky under the foot of one of the soloists as she stood up to play.
Here are a few pics from yesterday’s rehearsal with Laurence Cummings in Hall 2, at our Kings Place HQ. The concert is tonight at the Queen Elizabeth Hall.