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Viola player Annette (known to many in the OAE as ‘Netty’) Isserlis made a diary of our recent tour to the US. Here’s days 1-3 with the rest following tomrorow. We hope to post some pics up soon too… A few additions from the blog editor in the brackets!
Mon Mar 14
Scene: Carluccio’s, outside Terminal 5, LHR.
Breakfast with husband Ken between red-eye flight in from Schipol (following 2 OAE concerts in Groningen and Nijmingen with Rachel Podger), and impending flight to USA: Ken to LA for solo concerts and Me to Boston with OAE and Sir Roger (Norrington), continuing the CPE Bachfest.
Dreadful news continuing to come through about the Japanese Disaster(s). Ken’s family all ok.
Painless flight to Boston followed by similarly painless Immigration, amazingly! It transpired that he chatty officer knew Yo-yo Ma personally….
Convivial dinner and bed not too early: it’s the only way to sleep through the 1st night, in my experience.
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Yesterday saw the Orchestra travel from Boston to New York for that evening’s concert at Lincoln Center – and it was also Sir Roger Norrington’s Birthday. At the Boston concert he was presented with this very appropriate T Shirt (we were playing the music of CPE Bach) which he proudly wore on the coach down to New York. A full report on the tour to follow soon, and if you’re in New York you can still catch the OAE when we combine with the London Sinfonietta tomorrow for a performance of Heiner Goebbel’s Songs of Wars I Have Seen tomorrow evening (18 March).
Firstly – today is CPE Bach’s 297th Birthday! So it’s very appropriate that we are celebrating his music at this time. The first reviews of our concert of his music last week at the Queen Elizabeth Hall are now in – links below. Next week we’re off to the States for further performances of this concert in Boston (15 March) and New York (16 March).
Who knew such adjectives would be applied to a little known Baroque (or early Classical?) composer? But those are the words of OAE players and conductor Sir Roger Norrington, when asked to describe the music of CPE Bach. Steven Devine, who plays Harpsichord, goes on to say he’s ‘a bit of a maniac’. Who knew? In our latest video OAE players and Sir Roger talk about this fantastically exciting and unusual music, which we play tomorrow at Southbank Centre. You can find out even more about the music in our Study day on Saturday, with some serious study of CPE Bach in the morning and a performance and player discussion in the afternoon.
A couple of pics from today’s rehearsal of CPE Bach with Sir Roger Norrington.
Next week is CPE Bach week here at the OAE. Or, as we have called the concert, The other amazing Mr Bach week. It kicks off Sunday in Bradford-on-Avon with a concert of his music conducted by Sir Roger Norrington, which then comes to London on Thursday 3 March. Then we have a study day on 5 March, again at London’s Southbank Centre, allowing you to delve deeper into the composer and music. After that we’re off to the States – with concerts in Boston and New York, but more of that another time.
In today’s Guardian there’s a feature in which journalist Guy Damman argues that CPE’s Bach is unjustly neglected. He quotes musicologist Annette Richards who says:
“His music – or the music he considered representative of his talents – is miles away from the elegance and balance we associate with this period. Timelines are crisscrossed, he is endlessly stopping and starting, wrong-footing the listener and causing his audience to reconsider its relation to the music. In that sense, it’s very postmodern, a kind of meta-music.”
The summer is over, the new term is about to begin. Our last events in August were the concerts with Sir Roger Norrington at the Proms, in Edinburgh, Grafenegg and Esterhazy. They proved to be an enjoyable and exciting (perhaps a bit too exciting!) finale to the 2008-2009 season.
In Edinburgh we were looking forward to working in the newly refurbished Usher Hall, whose beautiful acoustic is ideal for the OAE’s sound. We were joined by the mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato, who had recently had an accident to her foot but gamely insisted on no fuss and certainly was a big hit with everyone in the orchestra. The rehearsal in the morning went without a hitch and we dispersed to sample the delights of the Festival during the afternoon. All went smoothly in the concert until we were just about to go on for the second half, when all the stage lights suddenly went out. (The wind players who were already on stage were plunged into gloom and looked most surprised!) Read the rest of this entry »
Four concerts. Four countries. Four different programmes. Over, erm, seven days. Oh well, the fours thing lasted up to a point. We’re in the middle of a slightly complicated patch of work at the moment, working with Sir Roger Norrington. Usually we have a single concert programme which tours but on this tour each concert has seen a different variation. Edinburgh, the first date, saw an all Haydn programme, the Proms concert saw some of the Haydn repeated but with Handel, Purcell and Mendelssohn added, and the remaining concerts in Austria and Hungary see various combinations of the music so far played.
Our Orchestra manager Philippa is going to blog in full about the Edinburgh concert, but to whet your appetite here are a few pics.
William, Marketing Director
Being a member of the projects team, I have a lot to do with the intricacies of planning all of our concerts and tours, but on Monday afternoon Ceri (our Projects Manager), Philippa (the Orchestra Manager) and I headed off to a meeting with the BBC about our televised Prom on 25th August with Sir Roger Norrington and it all became clear (as mud!) at just how much more complicated things can be when you add a TV broadcast into the mix.
It was my first time to White City (and to within spitting distance of the infamous Westfield shopping centre) and the famous television centre (hence the cheesy photo!). The Proms meeting was actually just down the road, so no celeb spotting for us, but instead we were greeted by a panel of about 15 members of the Proms team including everyone from lighting and sound to make up. The Sixteen were just finishing up their meeting when we arrived as this was part of two days of back to back meetings to discuss all of the logistics for the televised Proms.
Our programme is particularly complicated as we have four different orchestral set ups, a soloist to fit in, a harpsichord to tune and a change of pitch. We discussed the logistics of how to fit the TV cameras in around the orchestra, the lighting for the Orchestra, the amount of time it would take to reset the orchestra between pieces and also for the conductor to take his bow and the for the applause at the end as all of this has to be factored into the BBC’s scheduling times. There are also other Proms and Prom rehearsals for that day with some of their related equipment needing to be left on stage, and not to forget the TV crew’s lunch times!
It looks set to be a fantastic concert and it was fascinating to get a glimpse into the planning that goes into the TV side of things. We might have ended up having a quick peek in the shopping centre afterwards too…!