What is this big beast of the orchestra, and where did it come from?
David Chatterton introduces the contrabassoon as heard in Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony and Haydn’s Creation.Read More
‘A whole hillside of sheep goes into making the bottom string’.
Cecelia Bruggemeyer, our long-time double bass player, introduces its baroque ancestor.
Violone: literally ‘big viol’ ; a general term used to refer to baroque bass instruments of various sizes and tunings
1. a general word for a non-specified bass instrument or bass line
2. shorthand for double bass
Double-bass (Eng.), Contrebasse (Fr.): a bass stringed instrument that sounds an octave lower than the written pitchRead More
“It really changes the way we think about the music”.
Our Co-Principal Keyboard, Steven Devine, introduces the predecessor of the modern piano, the fortepiano.
It’s the type of instrument Haydn, Mozart and the young Beethoven would have known and composed for.Read More
Haydn’s Surprise Symphony isn’t just one dramatic moment. Our Chief Executive Crispin explains why Haydn is the ‘King of Symphonies’.Read More
Is love what you think it is?
Our Baroque dance spectacular, Dangerous Liaisons, tells a classic love story. But in the Baroque era, composers were influenced by a very different theory of why people fell in love than we have now.Read More
Why did silent films have music? How do orchestras perform to silent films?
We asked Ben Winters (senior lecturer in music at the Open University and expert on music in films) to explain.Read More
“I always feel that playing these instruments is like doing a tight-rope walk without any kind of safety net…”
Our co-principal oboe Dan Bates introduces the instrument that composer Joseph Haydn (1732-1809) would have been familiar with.
Hear Dan perform at our next Turning Points event at Kings Place, Kings Cross, London:
Sat 12 May 2018
First and Last of a Great Genius
Haydn Symphony no. 1 Haydn Symphony no. 104 London
Find out moreRead More
We’re going to the cinema for a recreation of a remarkable cinema event that first took place in London in 1926.
See the silent film version of the great opera Der Rosenkavalier, while we play live the soundtrack Richard Strauss wrote to accompany the film.Read More
The first of a new series of videos exploring the instruments of the ‘classical’ era (1750-1820).
Principal Horn Roger Montgomery looks at the instrument that would have been used to perform Mozart’s horn concertos.Read More
Mozart illustrated the score for the Rondo from his Horn Concerto No.1 with a series of naughty notes and jokes aimed at his horn player friend, Joseph Leutgeb.
Read the notes as we perform it at Conway Hall with our Principal Horn Roger Montgomery.Read More
“It’s designed to disturb. It should get under the skin and worry us.”
Mark Padmore explores Bach’s St Matthew Passion, and the advantages of performing it without a conductor.Read More
“Challenging in different ways but so enjoyable.”
Nicola Benedetti chats about performing Beethoven on period instruments as she joins us on tour around the UK and US.Read More
Professor Tara Shears came to talk to us about antimatter as part of our Bach, the Universe and Everything series at Kings Place. We learnt there is more connecting Bach and particle physics than you might imagine.Read More
What exactly is a Cantata?
Bach wrote over 200 of these mini-operas in his role as Cantor at various churches. Their sheer volume and unfamiliarity might seem overwhelming, but don’t let that put you off. Our co-principal keyboard Steven Devine explains all as he accompanies soprano Rowan Pierce in Bach’s Cantata Weichet nur, betrübte Schatten (Yield now, troubling shadows) BWV202.
“I think there’s a fine line between healthy love and manic obsession, so perhaps she’s crossing into it..” Soprano Louise Alder chats about her role as Semele in Handel’s provocative opera.
Handel’s Semele, Wed 18 October 2017
Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall
Is love what you think it is? Ahead of our performance of Handel’s Semele at the Royal Festival Hall on Wed 18 October, 2017, we asked social philosopher Roman Krznaric how audiences would have viewed Semele’s story differently through the ages.
Roman Krznaric is joined by the OAE’s Martin Kelly for the pre-concert talk from 6pm in the Level Five Function Room.
Roman is author of The Wonderbox and Carpe Diem Regained – see romankrznaric.com.Read More
What is right and what is wrong? Can the ultimate betrayal ever be forgiven? There are two very different visions of the Easter story in our 2017/18 season.
The Judas Passion
St Matthew Passion
Who called who a nanny goat bassoonist? Our Co-Principal bassoon Peter Whelan tells all as he introduces the baroque bassoon.Read More
‘The gut strings make a more gutsy sound’
If you think a violin from the 18th Century is the same as one made yesterday, think again…
Violinist Huw Daniel reveals the differences between the baroque instrument and the modern one.Read More
‘The lack of keys on this instrument should never be seen as a disadvantage.’
Our Co-Principal Oboe Katharina Spreckelsen on why the quirks of the Baroque oboe make it so exciting.Read More