Tag Archives: behind the scenes

CLoSer with Rachel Rose Reid

The next CLoSer concert of our RE:Imagine series is just around the corner on Wednesday 17 February. CLoSer: Song of the Earth features Mahler’s epic song of despair Das Lied von der Erde, which  was originally written for a vast orchestra. We perform the piece in a salon arrangement by Schoenberg, written for the Society for Private Musical Performances, which performed scaled-down versions of new music to interested Viennese citizens. (Read more about the twentieth century Viennese cultural landscape here). 

Das Lied von der Erde shows Mahler at his most turbulent and hopeless, reeling from three personal tragedies. We’re so pleased that storyteller Rachel Rose Reid will be on hand to navigate Mahler’s emotional turmoil with us in a specially-commissioned introduction to the piece.

We asked Rachel what we can expect from her story

“It will be lyrical prose which summons Gustav and Alma to us so we can comprehend a little of the context of the composition. Mahler wrote to a friend that he thought this might be his ‘most personal piece’.

“My work is to build a bridge between Mahler, writing this piece, and ourselves, listening to it over a hundred years later.

“Mahler is sitting in nature, where he always sat for inspiration, but not permitted to explore it. Inside a marriage but not at home in his marriage. Inside his society but not at home in society. His music is a place he can inhabit. Meanwhile, Alma struggles to fit in also, with social roles, with grief, with marriage. She struggles with Mahler’s music – in her diary she writes that there are just two pieces of his she really loves. And then she adds, in pencil ‘and the Song of the Earth’.”

Take a look at some of Rachel’s other work…

If you missed Rachel Rose Reid on The Verb earlier this month, celebrating national storytelling week, you can still catch up

Join us on Wednesday for CLoSer: Song of the Earth with storytelling introduction. Can’t make it? The event will be live-streamed on our YouTube channel.

CLoSer: Song of the Earth
Wednesday 17 February 2016, 7.30pm
Village Underground, 54 Holywell Lane, EC2A 3PQ
Tickets £15 (includes a free drink), £5 students / 16-25s
Box Office cls.co.uk / 020 7621 2800

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Month in pictures – September and October

We’ve had two very busy months at CLS. Our RE:Imagine concert series got off to a flying start in September with CLoSer: Debussy, Copland and Dance at Village Underground, and continued at Southwark Cathedral with an atmospheric celebration of the music of one of the most romantic cities in the world, in Venice: Darkness to Light. But that’s not all we’ve been up to so far this autumn. Take a look at some of our highlights of the last two months…

CLoSer: Debussy, Copland and Dance saw us return to the intimate setting of Village Underground with a programme exploring music written for dance from Rameau’s 18th century take on the classical Pygmalion myth to Copland’s evocative Appalachian Spring. The concert opened and closed with two brand new dance interpretations of Debussy’s Prélude à l’après-midi d’un faune by choreographer Tony Adigun, one contemporary classical, one urban. Photographer James Berry was on hand to capture the concert as it happened. Take a look at some of his stunning pictures…

Whether you missed the concert, or would just like to relive the evening, you can still watch short highlights on our website.

Our second RE:Imagine concert took us to the magnificent Southwark Cathedral to celebrate one of the world’s most wonderful cities, with Venice: Darkness to Light. Soprano Elin Manahan Thomas and countertenor Alex Potter joined us for JS Bach’s re-imagining of Pergolesi’s Stabat MaterTilge, Höchster, meine Sünden, and Latvian composer Ugis Praulins continued our theme of re-imagining the works of Bach, with his arrangement of movements from the Mass in B minor. Here are some lovely photos of rehearsals by James Berry.

On top of all that, it’s been very busy in the education department, as we returned to Suffolk and Essex for our annual Lullaby Concert tour and workshops with Orchestras Live. We also brought a Very Special Bear’s first concert to Warwick, Basingstoke and Saffron Walden with the help of the excellent Simon Callow, who was an absolute natural at conducting! Take a look behind the scenes to see us wrestling with balloons, and a lovely Paddington Bear card made by one of our younger audience members in Basingstoke!

Our RE:Imagine series continues in the new year with The Viennese Salon in the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse at Shakespeare’s Globe, and our next Crash Bang Wallop! family concert will take place on 12 December. We hope to see you there!

Crash Bang Wallop! Let it Snow
Saturday 12 December 2015, 11.00am
Cadogan Hall, 5 Sloane Terrace, London
Tickets: £8 Children, £10 Adults, £30 Family (four tickets)
Box Office: 020 7730 4500 / cadoganhall.com

The Viennese Salon
Sunday 24 January 2016, 2.00pm
Sam Wanamaker Playhouse, Shakespeare’s Globe, London
Tickets: £62 (premium), £15 – 48, £10 (standing)
Box Office: 020 7401 9919 / shakespearesglobe.com

Interview with Amelia Singer

Ahead of our concert and wine tasting next week, we sat down with founder of Amelia’s Wine, Amelia Singer to explore the fascinating world of music and wine…

What drew you towards wine, and how did you get started in the business?

Wine has always been part of my life. I was practically weaned on it by my father! I have always loved cooking and finding the flavours in food, so it was a very natural fit.

I studied acting at university, but I was very involved with the food and wine society, which I absolutely loved. There are so few young women in the wine industry, I decided I would use my acting training to become the Jamie Oliver of wine! So, I spent the next six years working in wineries all over the world, learning all I could about wine and the business, and two years ago I started Amelia’s Wine.

blog wine

Can you tell us a bit about Italian wine?

I adore north east Italy, so preparing the wines for this tasting has been great. One of my favourite wines, which I first remember enjoying with my father, is a classic Amarone. It’s an elegant, robust and reflective red, with dried fruit, chocolate, and smoky flavours. It’s a great wine to savour as it has so many layers; there’s a lot going on, so you can keep going back to it. When it comes to bubbles, rather than a Prosecco, I love a Franciacorta which is also from the region, and is aged longer than Champagne.

How did you go about pairing the wines with the music?

I always go straight to the music and the context and ethos of the programme, and in this case the themes of recreating and re-imagining; playing with the imagination and perceptions and expectations, creating a new way of tasting what you think you know well. I knew the area to focus on, and that I wanted to reflect the idea of darkness to light in the colour spectrum of the wine. I’ve chosen a wine that combines the best of Italy and Germany to complement the Bach in the programme, a bubbly but more serious wine to bring out the Commedia dell’arte themes of Pulcinella, and an elegant, multi-faceted red inspired by Liszt’s The Black Gondola.

What can we expect from the evening?

Something that’s interactive, fun, social, and friendly, with lively, diverse, curious people. You’ll learn something, and hopefully feel confident and empowered, and see the pieces of music and the wine in a new light. I’m really excited about holding the tasting in the intimate space at Bedales.

And finally, what music are you listening to at the moment?

It’s been a very hectic week, so during the days it’s something upbeat. In the evenings I’ve been chilling out to some Jazz with Gregory Porter and Claire Teal.

Tickets for this special wine tasting event at Bedales Wines are limited, so book soon!

Venice: Darkness to Light
Wednesday 14 October 2015, 7.30pm
Southwark Cathedral, London
Tickets £25, £15, £5* (*restricted view)
£5 tickets available for students and 16-25s (pre-register at www.cls.co.uk/cls-fiver) Box Office / 020 7377 1362

Classical Concert Etiquette: A Guide

In response to yet another bad news day for classical music audiences, our excellent Chief Executive Matthew Swann has been on the case, weighing up the goods and the bads of concert etiquette…

There’s been a bit of toing and froing this week (and arguably for the past few hundred years) about audience behaviour and etiquette at classical music concerts. A friend of Gillian Moore’s, Head of Music at the Southbank Centre, was poked in the shoulder and then given short shrift by a fellow concert goer at a classical concert for moving her head in time to the music. The very thought! Moving to music!

In response, the writer behind Accidento Bizarro blog penned this response, saying that classical audiences all just need to calm down and loosen up.

In all seriousness, Gillian’s berating party sounds like they were just being rude and I’m in complete sympathy with her friend who found themselves unnecessarily and unfairly humiliated by misplaced ire. I’m also glad that Gillian’s patience finally snapped and she gave the berater such an excellent response, reminding them that if she and her friend had been first-time concert-goers that was yet more people lost to classical music.

Ultimately I think that Accidento and Gillian are kind of arguing the same point, but it got me thinking about some of my more extreme audience experiences – both as a promoter/producer and as a fellow audience member, and how we might deal with the wider question, in advance of our first CLoSer of the season next week.

I’ve been very lucky in that I’ve been to a huge variety of performances, from the formality of Glyndebourne to the semi-organised chaos of Non-classical at La Scala, which while all falling under the loose title of classical music (and one jazz example, following Accidento’s lead) are incredibly diverse in their nature.

Continue reading Classical Concert Etiquette: A Guide

DEBUSSY AND L’APRES-MIDI D’UN FAUNE

We can’t wait for the beginning of our new RE:Imagine series with CLoSer: Debussy, Copland and Dance on 22 September, which celebrates music written for dance with works by Bach, Debussy, Rameau and Copland. Our blog series exploring the stories behind the music has looked at Copland’s Appalachian Spring and Rameau’s Pygmalion. It now concludes with Debussy’s stunning Prélude à l’après-midi d’un faune…

Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune

CLOSER: Debussy, Copland and Dance
Tuesday 22 September 2015, 7:30pm
Village Underground, Shoreditch
Tickets £15 or £5 for students and 16-25s (pre-register at www.cls.co.uk/cls-fiver) available from Spitalfields Music Box Officeor via phone on 020 7377 1362.

Things we’ve been listening to this week…

Our sad songs post on Tuesday got us thinking about what music we’d been playing recently. It’s been a week of headphones in the office, as everyone’s busy preparing for our new RE:Imagine season. But what’ve we all been listening to? After a very quick and entirely unscientific survey, here is this week’s somewhat eclectic CLS playlist…

PL: I’ve been listening Stan Getz – The Bossa Nova Albums (trying to prolong a holiday feeling…!)

 

AL: I’ve had Tomasz Stańko Quartet’s ‘Song for Sarah’ on repeat this week. It’s beautifully melancholy, and takes me back to fantasies of sequined gowns and smoky jazz clubs.

 

ZH: Chicago-based rapper Mick Jenkins has a new album Wave[s] and it’s very good.

PM: This week I’ve been mostly listening to ‘I Get Along Without You Very Well’ by Chet Baker. It’s a jazz standard that I’d never heard before until the recent John Wilson Orchestra prom, where Seth MacFarlane sung in the style of Frank Sinatra at a packed out late night concert.

 

MS: This has been a week of ‘concentrating on papers and presentations’ music on headphones, so Palestrina, Bach, Electronica, and some good old fashioned rock ‘n’ roll. And of course the BBC Proms…

 

GHG: I haven’t been listening to much music lately, but with a fussy baby comes a lot of walking, so I’ve been doing lots of listening to podcasts to keep me entertained. These are a few of my favourites:

This American Life: A great podcast with a different theme each week and a variety of stories on that theme.

Scummy Mummies: A comedy podcast on parenthood, co-hosted by a good friend of mine

The Moth Podcast: Storytelling podcast with fantastic real life stories

Serial/Undisclosed: I loved the popular Serial podcast about the case of Adnan Syed so much that I’ve been listening to a follow-on podcast called Undisclosed which is following the story as it continues to unfold

Month in Pictures – July and August

It’s been a busy few months at City of London Sinfonia. In July we announced our new RE:Imagine season, and preparations are in full swing for our first CLoSer event on 22 September. We had another wonderful summer with Opera Holland Park as their Orchestra-in-residence, and were very sorry to finish the season in August. Our community and education work has continued to keep us busy too, as we performed with Orchestras Live in Luton, and at Great Ormond Street Hospital. With all of that going on, it’s amazing we still found time for a trip to Brighton!

This year was our twelfth with Opera Holland Park, where we played Puccini’s Il Trittico, Verdi’s Aida, Delibes’ Lakmé, Montemezzi’s L’amore dei tre Re, and a new production of Jonathan Dove’s Flight. You can see more of Opera Holland Park behind the scenes here, or read about horn player, Mark Paine’s experiences. We were lucky to have the wonderful Robert Workman on hand for these wonderful photos.

Our partnership with Orchestras Live took us to Luton in July for the final concert in the Aiming Higher project, which gave young musicians the opportunity to play together and improve their skills. Composer John K Miles, who was commissioned to write the music for the project, told us all about his experiences working with young musicians in Luton. Here are some fab shots of all the groups in action.

We found some pretty cryptic messages during our time at Great Ormond Street Hospital. Remember – keep frogs alive!

It wasn’t all work, work, work this July and August; there’s also been plenty of fun in the office. Our favourite little mascot gave us the seal of approval on our new season, and we even managed to escape to Brighton for a day by the sea. Well, it is summer!