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
Paul Bullock – Director
Denni Sayers – Choreographer
Reviewed by: Amanda-Jane Doran
Reviewed: 24 July, 2016
Venue: Royal Albert Hall, London
Last 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.
Opportunities 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.