Guest Blog: The Winds of Change: Harmonien and the French Revolutionary Wars

Austin Glatthorn’s research focuses on the negotiation of music, politics, spectacle, and representation in Central Europe in the years around 1800. Specifically, he is interested in music at the crossroads of the old and new regimes, exploring the ways in which music articulated cultural and national identity during a seminal period of transformation in European (music) history. In this guest blog, he writes about how the disruption of the Revolutionary Wars contributed to the growing popularity of Harmonien.

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B&B's Top 5 Harmoniemusik CDs

Stuck for last-minute gift ideas? Give the gift of Harmoniemusik for Christmas! We've pulled together our personal top 5 CDs from some of the big names in Harmoniemusik. Being Boxwood & Brass, however, we've combined our favourite ensembles with a bit of a 'repertoire explorer': so, no Mozart serenades here (much though we love them), but plenty of new sounds for curious ears... 

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Five go mad in Ludlow

Whilst it may appear to have been quiet lately on the B&B blog, it certainly hasn't been quiet with B&B in general!

We spent the first week of April in the Shropshire town of Ludlow. Renowned today as a destination for foodies, Ludlow is the perfect place for B&B history geeks...

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Circles and Lines

As we prepared for our recent concert for Music-at-Hill, we started musing about ensemble disposition. Normally, we follow the convention of standing in a horseshoe-shape, deep or shallow depending on the space and acoustic of the venue. But recently Robert our bassoonist discovered several references to bands playing in a closed circle...

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Why do concerts always start with the 'little' pieces and end with the 'big' ones?

Why do concerts always start with the 'little' pieces and end with the 'big' ones? That's what we've been wondering this week as we plan programmes for next season. What if we put the biggest piece at the start of the programme? That way, it comes when we and the audience are at our freshest, with the added advantage that we get a nice substantial piece to settle us into the programme. Then, after the interval, the audience can settle down with a glass of wine and enjoy some lighter fare! Think of is as a 'front-loaded' programme, rather than one 'based fundamentally on the idea of crescendo' (to misquote Tony Pay)

The idea isn't new, by the way: in the 19th century, it was common to have the substantial music in the first half. This Proms programme from 1896 features the Wieniawski Violin Concerto AND Dvorak Symphon No. 9 (or No. 5 in the old numbering) in the first half, followed by a second half of fantasias and songs. Maybe they recognised something obvious: no-one's concentration gets better as the evening wears on!