What a treat. The Night Shift is a series of events by the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment held at non traditional venues like the Roundhouse to pubs around the country. Tonight I attended a special event at the Royal Festival Hall featuring superstar conductor Sir Simon Rattle. What is so different about this evening is that the orchestra was playing very old musical instruments that was used in the period when the music was written, so the music can be heard as it should.
Tonight’s music was all about Debussy. Claude Debussy, the French Musical Impressionist, used his orchestra the same way as impressionist painters did. He wrote music like tiny dots which when played together created a magnificent symphony.
Not being a regular at classical music events, it was a refreshing approach where Alistair Appleton introducing the music and interviewing the conductor and musicians. For the uninitiated, this helped you to understand and appreciate the music even more.
The first piece, Prélude à l’après-midi d’un faune, starts unusually with a solo by a flautist, played on an old flute that was about 130 years old. The sound from the old flute was much softer than that of a modern instrument.
One of the pieces, La Mer, reproduces waves and storms at sea and was written by Debussy in Eastbourne.
Here is some rate footage of Sir Simon Rattle rehearsing with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment in Debussy’s Prélude à l’après-midi d’un faune
The Orchestra’s next outing is in August in a tent at another interesting venue. You can see their full schedule here.