Ten pieces of trailblazing music to open young ears!

BBC Ten Pieces continues to open up the world of classical music to 7 to 14 year olds, introducing a new set of ten exciting pieces, Ten Pieces Trailblazers!

The new set of ten pieces focuses on composers and works that have changed the way we think of classical and orchestral music – how it can be made, what it can sound like, and who can create it. For the first time, Ten Pieces explores music for Film and Television with Delia Derbyshire’s realisation of the Doctor Who Theme and a new commission from film composer Hans Zimmer!

BBC Ten Pieces Trailblazers is a brand new set of pieces, films and resources for teachers to use and share in their classrooms. You can take a peek at the ten exciting introduction films below!

Ten pieces of trailblazing music to open young ears...

1. George Gershwin – Rhapsody in Blue

Jazz meets the orchestral sound world.

This is music of a confident, energetic, roaring city composed at the moment our modern world was emerging.

Gershwin’s music influenced a generation of composers including other Ten Pieces composers Bernstein and Copland.

George Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue is full of the sounds and energy of 1920s New York. Radzi Chinyanganya introduces the piece and tells us about Gershwin’s love of Jazz and Blues.

2. Ravi Shankar – Symphony

Shankar is an innovator and musical ambassador.

In his ‘Symphony’ Ravi Shankar creates an extraordinary musical conversation, fusing the traditional sounds of a western orchestra and Indian music.

Explore Ravi Shankar’s Symphony – Finale. Learn about Hindustani music, the raga (melody) and tala (rhythm) that shapes the piece, and also the Banjara people who inspired it.

3. Delia Derbyshire – Doctor Who Theme (original theme composed by Ron Grainer)

Derbyshire used revolutionary techniques (including oscillators, and tape loops cut and spliced together in the ‘musique concrete’ style) to create a brand new sound world and an iconic piece of music.

Ten Pieces Trailblazers aims to bring Derbyshire’s work into the spotlight.

Segun Akinola introduces the Doctor Who theme. Segun became the composer for the show in 2018. We learn how he was inspired by the original work of Delia Derbyshire & Ron Grainer.

4. Antonio Vivaldi – ‘Winter’ from ‘The Four Seasons’, Allegro non molto (1st mvt)

Music can conjure up images and sounds of the world around us – it’s something we’re familiar with now.

Antonio Vivaldi, setting his own poems to music, was one of the first composers to start to explore how music could reflect the natural world.

This has now become one of the most recognised pieces of classical music in the world and his influence connects to the ever-evolving story of music.

Stephanie Childress introduces trailblazer Antonio Vivaldi with one of his most famous pieces – Winter from The Fours Seasons. Stephanie also plays violin alongside the orchestra.

5. Grażyna Bacewicz – Overture

A glistening, dramatic overture by a ground-breaking woman in Polish musical life who continued to compose in secret and give concerts in occupied Warsaw during the Second World War.

The opening of her ‘Overture’ features the Morse code for ‘V’ for Victory beaten out on the timpani.

What follows is an orchestral roller coaster, a piece full of fireworks and passion.

She only heard this piece (written in 1943) once the conflict was over.

Naomi Wilkinson explores Morse code motifs in Grażyna Bacewicz’s triumphant Overture, teaching us how her hope for victory got her through a time of fear and terror during WWII.

6. Steve Reich – Music for 18 Musicians (excerpt)

Dazzling percussion, rhythmic patterns and shifting musical colours unfold before us in the ground-breaking minimalism of Steve Reich – a huge influence on many pop artists and composers including John Adams, Nico Muhly, Bjork and Brian Eno.

Naomi Wilkinson introduces Steve Reich’s Music for 18 Musicians, a minimalist masterpiece. We explore the short motifs and repeating patterns that make Reich’s music so exciting.

7. Heitor Villa-Lobos – Bachianas brasileiras No. 2, The Little Train of the Caipira (finale)

Heitor Villa Lobos helped to bring South American music and rhythms into the orchestral world.

In this piece, we clamber aboard a rickety steam locomotive and discover how Villa Lobos uses musical instruments to re-create the plucky train’s journey through the Brazilian mountains.

Naomi Wilkinson explores The Little Train of the Caipira by Heitor Villa Lobos. This piece is packed full of the bustling sounds of Brazil – it’s folk music and local instruments.

8. Florence Price – Symphony No. 1 in E minor (3rd mvt)

Traditional West African dance and music enter the world of the orchestra in Florence Price’s pioneering ‘Symphony’.

The uplifting and fun third movement is inspired by a traditional Juba dance.

Her rich musical world is full of references to spiritual, jazz and West African music.

The premiere in 1932 also broke new ground – it was the first piece by a black woman to be performed by a major orchestra.

Naomi Wilkinson explores the West African rhythms of Florence Price’s Symphony No. 1. Price combines these rhythms with the sound of spirituals and traditional classical music.

9. Johannes Brahms – Hungarian Dance No. 5 in G minor

Folk music takes centre stage in this piece by Johannes Brahms.

Brahms’s barnstorming show-stopper offers the perfect chance to explore dance, European Gypsy and folk music, and to see how local musical traditions can still inspire us today.

Radzi Chinyanganya introduces Hungarian Dance No. 5, one of Johannes Brahms’ most popular pieces. Inspired by the Hungarian folk dance Czárdás, it’s lively and full of energy.

10. Hans Zimmer – Earth BBC Ten Pieces Commission

Last but not least Ten Pieces are proud to have once again commissioned a piece especially for the project.

This year it’s by one of most popular and exciting film composers in the world, Hans Zimmer, who has composed a brand new piece for Ten Pieces called ‘Earth’.

Film music – and Hans’ music in particular – is one of the ways many children will first encounter the sound of an orchestra.

Now they have a piece of his music written just for them – to inspire ideas and to take part in.

The themes and ideas behind the piece – our magnificent, precious planet and our feelings towards it – offer endless opportunities for creative work.

Naomi Wilkinson introduces this piece Earth, written especially for Ten Pieces by the world-famous trailblazer Hans Zimmer. Hans talks all about what has inspired him to write this piece.
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