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24 Violons du Roi
Musicians from the Historical Performance Faculty have been involved in a very special project - learning to play and perform recreations of the instruments that featured in Louis XIV's 24 Violons du Roi - the world's first orchestra.
Sir Roger Norrington first conducted RCM musicians in a concert back in 2010. The project was such a huge success that in 2012 the RCM Baroque Orchestra together with students from the Conservatoire d'Orsay and Conservatoire de Paris took the instruments on tour across France - performing in important venues such as the Palace of Versailles - before crossing the pond for their final concert at Cadogan Hall as part of the BBC Proms.
They performed a varied and lively programme of Lully, Desmarest, Marais, Campra and Lalande and received rave reviews.
What the revewiers said:
In a review from the Guardian, Tim Ashley commented: "The performances were exquisite. Bliss from start to finish."
Geoff Brown, writing in the Times, said: "The Saturday Matinee Prom at Cadogan Hall was sinfully enjoyable."
Andrew Morris, from Classical Source, called it: “A fascinating history lesson [...] with such an immaculately drilled and youthfully stylish reincarnation of a very old orchestra at his disposal".
Alexandra Coghlan, from The Arts Desk, wrote: "Norrington has just the right amount of sardonic humour and throwaway brilliance for this music, and under his direction the orchestra generated a performance of distinctively Gallic hauteur (and just a little bit of silliness)."
Nahoko Gotoh, writing on Bach Track, said: Obviously a lot of research and work had gone into this project, especially in recreating the instruments, but what was more impressive was these young musicians’ mastery of the appropriate style for performing this repertoire."
Culture Capital: Congrats to @RCMLatest, Norrington & French partners for Violons du roi prom today. Wasn't able to make it but enjoying now on @BBCiPlayer.
Alexandra Coghlan: Who knew that Roger Norrington was such a comedy genius?! Fabulous fun at #BBCProms Saturday Matinee
James Doeser: Went to the saturday matinee #bbcproms performance at Cadogan Hall. Transported to C17th France. Roger Norrington is quite a character!
(c) Sisi Burn and Anne-Thérèse Chabridon