Tag Archives: CLS 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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It’s Party time!

It’s our last week in the office before the Christmas break, and we’re all feeling particularly festive. We’re off on our Christmas party this afternoon, and to get ourselves fully into the party spirit, we’ve put together this (longer than anticipated) playlist of some of our Christmas favourites. We hope you enjoy it!
spotify:user:cityoflondonsinfonia:playlist:0Y4zcDJzRO7BeurLhuuQTy

Wishing you all a happy and peaceful Christmas and New Year from all of us at City of London Sinfonia!

Crash Bang Wallop! Frequently Asked Questions

With our next Crash Bang Wallop! concert just round the corner, we thought now would be a great time to answer some of your frequently asked questions about our special family concerts!

What age range are Crash Bang Wallop! concerts aimed at?

Crash Bang Wallop! events are most appropriate for children between the ages of 3 and 8 years old.

How long are the concerts?

Each concert lasts for one hour with no interval. There are always pre-concert creative activities for an hour beforehand too.

What should we wear?

Feel free to wear whatever you like, there is no dress code! For some of our concerts though, we encourage the children to come in fancy dress. Please look at the specific event page on our website to see if the event you’re attending has fancy dress.

Crash Bang Wallop.
Cadogan Hall, Saturday 31 October 2015. © James Berry

When should we arrive?

Our concerts start at 11am and we encourage audience members to get to Cadogan Hall within plenty of time to find their seats. We also offer pre-concert activities, starting at 10am.

Can we go in and out of the hall during the concert?

Yes, you may leave the hall if necessary during the concert, however, as this may disrupt others, we encourage our audience to remain in the concert hall for the full duration if possible.

Do we need to know anything about classical music to enjoy the concert?

Not at all! Crash Bang Wallop! concerts are all about introducing the orchestra in a fun and interesting way for all so no prior knowledge is necessary for children or adults.

ear worm featured pic

How can we find out about future Crash Bang Wallop! events?

Find out more about us and our upcoming events on our website. You can also sign up to our mailing list.

We can’t attend both the creative activities and the concert. Does this matter?

Not at all! Attending both is not compulsory!

I want to go to a Crash Bang Wallop! concert but live outside of London. Are there any opportunities to go to a concert outside of London?

At present, Crash Bang Wallop! is resident at Cadogan Hall in London. However, we run workshops and events for children in the Home Counties and East Anglia too. Sign up to our mailing list in order to find out priority information on these.

Crash Bang Wallop.
Cadogan Hall, Saturday 31 October 2015. © James Berry

After attending Crash Bang Wallop! my child wants to learn a musical instrument. Where can we find a reliable teacher?

The London music conservatories all have Junior departments and both Trinity College of Music and Guildhall School of Music & Drama have beginner string programmes which start at age 3- 5. For quality local teachers, contact your borough council or local authority music service. They can usually put you in touch with music teachers on their books or point you toward local Saturday music schools. Also most primary and secondary schools have some form of private or group music tuition delivered by peripatetic music teachers.

When is a good time for my child to start learning a musical instrument?

This depends on what instrument. Your child must be physically capable of holding and playing the instrument (many wind and brass instruments require a lot of lung power that young children do not yet have) and able to concentrate through the lesson and practice sessions. Some children start on the violin or piano when they are as young as 3 years old and later move on to another instrument. Many music teachers start accepting pupils at age 5, but it is often dependent on the individual child. Often brass and wind instruments aren’t taught until children are 10 or 11 years old.

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

OHP Behind the Scenes: Concert Management

With only a few final performances to go, Opera Holland Park is nearly over for another year and so our Concert Management team must move on to new (probably indoor and peacock-lacking) endeavours. But what exactly did they see and do during their time there?

As part of our OHP Behind the Scenes blog series, we thought we’d delve a little deeper into the kinds of things they got up to, and here’s the evidence:

 

Despite its resemblance to a tombola machine, this is in fact the wind machine for La Fanciulla del West. (We were asked at least twice per performance what it was!)

 

At the Amadeus Centre with conductor Steuart Bedford (no, the horn player at the back is not asleep, just stretching his legs!)

 

Glyn Matthews setting up the tubular bells ready for the performance of  Turn of the Screw

 

Watching a vertically-challenged Minute Maestro conduct the Orchestra at the Opera Holland Park Family Open Day.

 

Pumping up the harp trolley’s flat tyres. Luckily, most of our French Horn players are keen cyclists, and Chris Newport had a bike pump handy, making the job a lot easier.

 

Weekly trips to Tesco to buy tea-making ingredients and plenty of biscuits for hungry musicians…

 

Marking string bowings backstage!

 

Is it a tuba? A trombone? No, this is Stephen Wick playing a cimbasso in rehearsal ready for Bellini’s Norma!

 

Sharing is caring for CLS & OHP behind the scenes! One of the musicians brought in some aubergine plants – needless to say, they were taken up very quickly!

OHP Behind the Scenes – The Musicians

Ever wondered what it’s like to work as a musician at Opera Holland Park? As Orchestra-in-Residence for the 11th year this year, we thought we’d give our lovely readers a teeny insight into the ‘orchestral life’ at this fantastic outdoor summer opera festival. With biscuits, gun shots, evening chills and more, we caught up with one of our longstanding members, Mark Paine (Horn) who told us some of his favourite memories and moments of his experience during his time in the OHP pit over the years (just to clarify, by ‘pit’ we mean the orchestral variety – not a muddy hole in the ground).

 

(C) Fritz Curzon
(C) Fritz Curzon

How long have you been playing at Opera Holland Park?

I think this is my 11th season can you believe! Well, ever since CLS first started doing it.

 

And what’s been your favourite opera?

Of course, everyone will say this – it’s terribly difficult to say. But my most memorable, and therefore favourite, has got to be L’amore dei tre re which we did with Peter Robinson. Without interval, it was a continuous crescendo from beginning to end and I guarantee you nobody took a breath in the audience until the final gun shot which finished it. It was just amazing.

 

I hear biscuits are essential for any performance at Opera Holland Park. How many packets of biscuits do you think the Orchestra have  consumed so far this season?

Shopping trip for biscuits for OHP!
Shopping trip for biscuits for OHP!

 

Haha how many packets? Well, probably 3 per night, so according to my mathematical calculations… About 100?! (He’s not far off here – we get through a shocking amount of biscuits!)

 

What makes performing at OHP different to other opera houses or opera companies that you’ve worked with?

Oh, a million things. The peacocks, the sub-zero temperature… It really is very, very special. It’s a combination of so many things. Great music, great operas, interesting repertoire and such engaged producers as James Clutton and Sarah Crabtree. It’s a fantastic company and a unique experience which is why I make sure I come back every season.

 

(C) Fritz Curzon
(C) Fritz Curzon

Coming up at Opera Holland Park

Bellini Norma, 19 July – 8 August

Cilea Adriana Lecouvreur, 24 July – 9 August