Orchestral Day - Baroque Project | 24th November, Royal Academy of Music

November saw our first Orchestral Day of the academic year. Our young people gathered at The Royal Academy of Music, where, guided by Oliver Webber, principal second violinist of the Gabrieli Consort and Players, they worked on Baroque Concerti Grossi by Vivaldi and Telemann.

Both concerti presented a challenge to the players both as soloists and as section players. The first concerto by Vivaldi was written for two Oboes, two Violins and Bassoon with solos played by Shona, Orchid (violins), Aliyah (oboe), Emily (flute) and Katie (bassoon). The second concerto for Violin (solo played by Shona) and Flute (solos by Brioni and Emily) was by Telemann.

Oliver introduced the orchestra to Baroque playing techniques and historically-informed playing styles, which changed how the string and wind players needed to approach their instruments technically and think about the melody. The bass section, consisting of cellos and basses, took on the role of basso continuo in the orchestra and finding themselves in charge of tempo and harmony gave them a new perspective on the repertoire and how to play in a Baroque setting.

Here’s what a few of the musicians taking part had to say about their day:

“I feel that this experience has helped me with ensemble playing and working together, as well as shaping phrases better and Baroque playing in general.” Hana, violin

“Oliver taught us a lot about Baroque techniques and styles alongside with ornaments and other textures that helped us play in style.” Haru, cello

“It helped my musicianship skills immensely and my understanding of how Baroque music should sound and be played has improved.” – Orchid, violin

“Oliver Webber’s leadership has been great and very informative!” – Brioni, flute