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    Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment

     Orchestra Age of Enlightenment musicians holding their interments in the park

    The Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment makes old music new, playing instruments from the period the music was written

    ‘Not all orchestras are the same.’ That’s been the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment’s calling card since a pioneering group of musicians formed the ensemble just over 30 years ago. 

    So what makes an OAE performance special? Think of it like drinking a lovingly-made craft beer over a mass-produced lager, or a Highland single malt over a supermarket-own brand. There’s an element of craft in everything it does.

    Each concert needs hours of research to understand centuries of performance tradition. In its hands, you hear as close as possible to what Bach or Beethoven envisaged when they were writing. And because they don’t perform every day of the year, every performance is remarkable and nothing is routine. They’re fired up, excited, and love what they do. Join them at a concert and you can see that on stage.

    From now until 2023, the OAE is going back to its roots with Six Chapters of Enlightenment, six special seasons exploring the golden age of science and philosophy that gave the Orchestra its name.

    The Wilderness Pleases

    One of the many influential pieces of work to come out of the Enlightenment era is Shaftesbury's The Moralists. In the book, the main character Theocles describes the terror of encountering a group of crocodiles in an Egyptian desert. 

    After escaping the monsters, he is overcome with a desire to admire them as wondrous creatures of the natural world. He says, 'let us fly to the vast deserts of these parts ... ghastly and hideous as they appear they want not their peculiar beauties. The wilderness pleases’.

    In this season, The Wilderness Pleases, the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment joyfully returns from the digital wilderness to present the fifth of their Six Chapters of Enlightenment at the Southbank Centre

    'Britain’s indisputably best period instrument ensemble'

    The Independent
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