Prom 12: Ten Pieces II (second concert) – DJ Switch, Matilda Lloyd, Esther Yoo, Wayne Marshall; BBC Philharmonic/Alpesh Chauhan

“After the success of last year’s Ten Pieces Prom comes a new selection of classical essentials, this time aimed at secondary-school pupils. In the culmination of the Ten Pieces II project – which has taken classical music to schools across the UK – this Prom combines live performance with video animations. From the power of Wagner’s ‘Ride of the Valkyries’ to the skills of DJ Mr Switch in Gabriel Prokofiev’s Concerto for Turntables and Orchestra, the Ten Pieces II Prom also showcases creative responses from teenagers.” [BBC Proms website]

Naomi Wilkinson, Lemn Sissay, Dan Starkey, Dion Dublin & Leah Boleto (presenters)

DJ Mr Switch (turntables), Matilda Lloyd (trumpet), Esther Yoo (violin), Wayne Marshall (organ)

Ten Pieces Choir

BBC Philharmonic
Alpesh Chauhan

Paul Bullock – Director
Denni Sayers – Choreographer

Reviewed by: Amanda-Jane Doran

Reviewed: 24 July, 2016
Venue: Royal Albert Hall, London

Alpesh Chauhan conducts the BBC Philharmonic at the Ten Pieces Prom Photograph: BBC/Guy LevyLast year BBC Learning launched Ten Pieces, an initiative to introduce primary-school children to classical music. Over half the schools in Britain participated, many uploading their own musical projects. It was a huge success.

As a result the project was extended to secondary schools for this year, introducing Ten further Pieces of music, culminating in two Proms combining performances by the BBC Philharmonic with a light-show and featuring children from around the country. The second-movement Scherzo from Shostakovich 10 was accompanied by dance depicting Stalinist horrors in a stunning showing by students from Wildern School in Southampton.

Ralph Vaughan Williams’s The Lark Ascending was shamefully cut, but other elements added to the dramatic experience: three boys from Bangor Grammar School, dressed as soldiers in the World War One trenches, read their letters home just before the music was played by Esther Yoo.

Students from Bangor School perform at the Ten Pieces PromPhotograph: BBC/Guy LevyOpportunities for youngsters to make music occurred throughout, four-hundred of them formed the Ten Pieces Choir for a couple of snippets from Verdi’s Requiem and their energy and enthusiasm were infectious. Several original pieces of music were inspired by the project. Fluto no Uto was performed by Yasmine and Michael Qureshi and the Able Orchestra made music and artworks which were truly ‘Supersonic’.

On this Sunday afternoon, the amateur performers were the stars, and the audience responded with delight, as it did to J. S. Bach, Bizet (Carmen) and Leonard Bernstein (West Side Story). Some of the spectators found the set-up comparing Wagner’s ‘Ring’ Cycle and The Lord of the Rings embarrassingly contrived and preferred the music by Gabriel Prokofiev (involving DJ Mr Switch) and Anna Clyne (Night Ferry). But there appeared to be something for everybody; even for teenagers, who are notoriously difficult to please.

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