Music Upbeat: Leading lights

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The Independent Culture
THERE is no stopping the rush to turn musicians into Principal Guest this or Resident Laureate that. But the appointment this weekend of Simon Rattle and Frans Bruggen as principal guest conductors to the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment has more symbolic weight to it than most. The OAE is the freest spirit among London's period-instrument orchestras. Far from being the vehicle for a star conductor's recordings, it has never worked with a single chief.

Bruggen has pioneered and taught the period gospel, Rattle has learnt it by working with the players who know it; both in their complementary ways have delivered sparky, un-pedantic performances with the OAE, whose manager Felix Warnock talks of a 'coming of age' for the orchestra. 'Period instrument orchestras are no longer confined to a specialist niche.' Bruggen opens the OAE's season at the Queen Elizabeth Hall with a Bach programme on Tuesday, and has been lined up for the next Prom season's Beethoven Nine. Rattle returns in 1994, with a European tour and more Mozart at the new Glyndebourne opera house. The OAE intends to continue working with other conductors, including Sir Charles Mackerras and Gustav Leonhardt.

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