The CLS Education team is really enjoying planning some exclusive concerts with a group of Young Producers in Lincoln. The project is part of Orchestras Live’s ‘First Time Live’ scheme, and will culminate in two concerts with City of London Sinfonia at Lincoln Drill Hall. Here’s a sneak peek at the programme they’ve come up with so far…
They’ve also included Gabriel Prokofiev’s brilliant Concerto for Turntables and Orchestra, which you can watch here.
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!
Wishing you all a happy and peaceful Christmas and New Year from all of us at City of London Sinfonia!
Our popular family concert series, Crash Bang Wallop! returns with a seasonal special on 12 December. Join our wonderful Orchestra and animateur Claire as they work together to bring snowy weather to Cadogan Hall with lots of festive favourites and sing-a-long carols.
Take a look at our playlist which features music from the concert, including music for a sleigh ride from father and son, Leopold and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart…
We return to Cadogan Hall on 31 October for our Crash Bang Wallop! family concert, The MusicalParty, and it’s certainly got us in the party mood! To celebrate, we’ve put together a playlist of the pieces we’ll be performing, so you can have a little listen before the concert…
So don your favourite party outfit and join us on Saturday 31 October for a fun-filled musical celebration. The concert starts at 11am, but why not come along for some great pre-concert creative activities from 10am? Meet the musicians, try your hand at the conductor’s baton, visit the Percussion Zoo, and make lots of fun crafts.
Our RE:Imagine season continues this Wednesday with Venice: Darkness to Light at Southwark Cathedral. We’ve put together this playlist as a little guide to the re-imagined sounds of the concert along with the pieces that inspired them.
Following the journey of the concert, first off, we have Bach’s take on two of Italy’s finest 18th Century composers: the first movement of Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater, and Bach’s version of it as the cantata Tilge, Höchster, meine Sünden; and the first movement of Vivaldi’s violin concerto from L’estro Armonico that Bach re-imagined as a keyboard concerto.
Sticking with Bach, we have the movements from Bach’s Mass in B Minor that Ugis Praulins has re-imagined (you’ll have to come to the concert if you want to hear what Ugis has done with it!). Following the Bach, are John Adams’ orchestral re-imaginings of Liszt’s The Black Gondola and Busoni’s Berceuse Elegiaque, and their piano version originals.
The most intriguing of the re-imaginings, however, is the overture to Stravinsky’s Pulcinella. Stravinsky based his piece on music by Pergolesi… except that it wasn’t by Pergolesi at all. Most of it was by a little known Venetian composer by the name of Domenico Gallo, who was little known because his publishers passed off most of his music as being by Pergolesi, because that way they knew it would sell more copies! Gallo is restored to his rightful place here, next to Stravinsky’s re-imagining.
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
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
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
A subject very close to the hearts of countless families across Britain, ÉMIGRÉ has played a huge role in so many people’s personal and cultural histories. In the weeks coming up to the start of our next concert series, ÉMIGRÉ, we’ve been collecting stories on the theme. While our concerts explore the journeys taken by composers and artists across the world, this blog series, ÉMIGRÉ STORIES, focuses on the journeys of the individuals that collectively make us: City of London Sinfonia. A collation of stories from a range of individuals connected to the orchestra, from players and members of the executive team to past collaborators, the series will track the fascinating, and often quite poignant, stories of those that, together, make up CLS’s own émigré history.
Our first émigré is our wonderful Marketing Intern, Alexandra Habasinska, whose family moved from Eastern Poland to the UK almost 70 years ago.
A little after the end of WWII, my maternal grandparents and great-grandparents settled in England, the end of a journey that, years before, saw them torn from their homes in eastern Poland. This story, whole families packed into cattle trains and transported to work camps in the depths of the Soviet Union, is familiar to many Polish families like mine. My grandfather’s family was taken north, to Arkhangelsk, to work on the railway; my grandmother’s family south, to Pavlodar in Kazakhstan, where they worked in the fields and herded goats.
When the camps were liberated by allied soldiers, the families were moved to refugee camps in Iran, and later Africa (my grandmother finished her schooling in a camp in Zimbabwe).
This photograph was taken in a refugee camp in Tehran – my grandmother is the second in from the left. They arrived in the camp with very little more than the clothes on their backs, so the costumes they’re wearing were either brought with the rest of the relief packages, or hand-made. After years of captivity, back-breaking physical labour, and malnutrition they celebrated their freedom by singing and dancing. Even in the darkest times it is music that held people together; there are many stories of deportees, as they crossed the border out of Poland, singing the patriotic hymn ‘Boże, Coś Polskę’, a plea for a free homeland which was written in 1918, just after Poland regained its independence after 123 years.
By the summer of 1948, both my grandfather’s and grandmother’s families had arrived in England, and by chance settled in the same camp in Oxfordshire. My grandparents met and married, and began their new life in England, where they filled their home with the music, food, language, and traditions of their own early childhoods.
I remember long summers with my grandmother, sitting under her prized apple tree eating pancakes and singing folk songs. I remember my grandfather crooning lullabies into my baby brother’s ear as he paced him up and down the corridor. Christmas is not Christmas without the smell of beetroot soup and frying potatoes, and a scratched recording of Polish carols by the folk group Mazowsze; and I don’t think there will ever be a time when the sound of an accordion won’t put a smile on my face!
Here is a short playlist with a few songs for the Polish émigré:
The 1930s cabaret scene in Poland was very vibrant, and the country was in thrall to the tango. Mieczysław Fogg was one of the most popular singers of the day, and recorded an impressive collection of tangos. This song, ‘To Ostatnia Niedziela’ (The Last Sunday), tells the story of a young couple on their final day together before they part. It has since been translated into Russian, and is now better known as ‘Burnt by the Sun’.
Chopin, the original Polish émigré, is a must on any list of Polish music. Here is his Fantasy on Polish Airs; the second movement is based on a folk song still widely performed.
Michał Kleofas Ogiński seems barely known outside Poland, but he wrote one of our most beloved pieces – the polonaise ‘Pożegnanie Ojczyzny’ (Farewell to the Homeland). It’s arranged here for accordion.
Finally, is the patriotic hymn ‘Boże, Coś Polskę’, the song that was sung by deportees leaving their homeland forever.
As for Mazowsze, an almost inescapable part of any Polish youth, they really need to be seen to be believed:
Join us for our exciting Émigré series which explores the journeys composers have made through history. On Wednesday 25 February we perform a range of tango music from Piazzolla, Golijov and Bartok with live dancers and a FREE tango taster from 6.45pm.
In advance of our next CLoSer concert and FREE tango taster, To and From Buenos Aires on 25 February, we thought we’d put together a quick and easy guide to dancing this spectacular art form. In our research, we found out that the steps you’re supposed to use can be compared to the sneaking or stalking action of a cat. So, we thought, what better way to create this guide, than to get actual cats to show you how its done?! (or cat gifs, to be exact). We also got some inspiration from Classic FM’s ‘History of Classical Music in Cat Gifs’ whose hilarity we are eternally grateful for.
The first thing to remember about tango is that it is an earthly and passionate dance. The dance should be full of drama…
As any expert will tell you, the essence of tango is not something you do, but something you feel. The music really has to flow through you in order to grasp the rhythm and sultry of the dance, so get listening! You can listen to our tango playlist on Spotify here!
As you will hear in the music, the tango revolves around a slow, steady four-count beat.
The tango is centred around the relationship of a man and a woman. It really does take two to tango, because the dance isn’t just about the man leading and the woman following. Both partners have important things to contribute to the dance – like any good conversation. It’s about teamwork.
It is an improvisational dance (in fact, it was the first improvisational ballroom dance danced in Europe). So before you start, don’t forget that you don’t have to keep exactly to the rules!
All great tango dancers work on their walk before they begin the steps. So before we go on to the exact movements needed to dance the tango in the next blog of this series, get practicing that stalking, sneaking cat-like walk.
With Christmas approaching, our thoughts have turned to festive music! We know how much you love our playlists, so we’ve put together a good mix of our favourite seasonal tunes from all across the genres. Guaranteed to put you in a festive mood!