Orchestra of the 18th Century


I had the opportunity to hear the Orchestra of the 18th Century under the inspiring leadership of Frans Brüggen. They were performing in the Polish Radio Studio 1, as part of the Chopin Piano Festival, 2013. 

Hearing the orchestra under Brüggen was the fulfilment of a long-held ambition, on account of their amazing recordings and excellent reputation. It was a real privilege to meet the members of the orchestra and to hear their concerts, which included piano works by Chopin, the Brahms 'St. Anthony Chorale' variations and an encore by R. Strauss.

Brüggen directed the orchestra with sublime musicality and impeccable timing. In fact, never before has the phrase 'impeccable timing' had such a deserving recipient as Frans Brüggen. It is simply indescribable.  His presence at the front of the orchestra gives the impression that he is almost 'playing' the orchestra as one complete and diverse musical instrument. He achieves this without being at all dogmatic or unnecessarily controlling. You can feel that he really trusts his musicians and he gives them space and time in which to play musically, rhetorically and with expressive freedom.

There is an amazing feeling about the ethos and the people in this orchestra. The family spirit of the group is admirable and the performers combine obvious skill and expertise with eccentricity, genius and charisma. 

All in all, it has been very difficult to put into words just how fantastic this experience was!

Russell Gilmour
Russell Gilmour Blog
writing on music, photography, engraving, travel and life as a freelance professional musician.