I spent a rather charming evening at The Little Orchestra in March. They were using the newly opened Alexandra Palace theatre, a beautifully restored venue oozing faded glamour, much like Wilton’s Music Hall.
The Little Orchestra is actually a regular sized orchestra, just conducted by Nicholas Little (yes, I did think it referred to its size at first) with the aim of making an outing to the orchestra a less imposing affair. What this really means in practice is that you can go in your jeans if you want, and you can also buy a sofa ticket. Perfect for a date night. They also have some comfort food to eat beforehand if you wish – coq au vin this time.
Other than that, it didn’t feel like this was a particularly different type of concert in the setup. However, what they did do differently was something which we all found really lovely.
We were there to see ‘Immortal Desire’ which explored some of Beeethoven’s pieces through the lens of his rather tragic love life, culminating in a rumination on the mystery of who was this ‘Immortal Beloved’ who he was so close to ending up with. Sadly it wasn’t to be and he died alone and presumably, miserable.
What this means is that between each piece we were introduced to what was going on in Beethoven’s life at the time (romance-wise particularly) and how it would have inspired the piece, or affected the tone. And we’d be given a taster of particular orchestral moments to listen out for. This worked really well to give context and promote a deeper affinity for the music for those that might not be classical music aficionados or know anything about the history of the composer.