An immersive family film mixing a celebrity cast with magical animation, live action and stunning close-up performance to bring ten pieces of orchestral music to life.
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I love it.
It's in our lives all the time.
One big playlist.
On our phone,
on the bus,
on the street.
A world of music, coming at us from the radio, films, games,
computers, tablets, TV shows, gigs...
and right now,
I want to throw ten more tracks into the mix.
Ten pieces of music.
Music where you let an orchestra play.
Play with your imagination.
And there's no right or wrong way to listen.
There's no secret language you need to know, there's just the choice.
The choice of where to start.
Something peaceful, something gentle?
No, Clara, I fancy something a bit bigger.
And this is music from some of the biggest battles of all.
METAL HITS THE GROUND
Battles like hope versus despair,
good versus evil.
Life versus death.
MUSIC: Ride Of The Valkyries by Wagner
And when Death's around, his cavalry are never far behind.
Norse legend tells of warrior women who search
the battleground for heroic soldiers.
The souls they want, they take away to guard Valhalla, home of the gods.
These are grim reapers on horseback.
They have a name...
This is the sound of the Valkyries - a musical stampede
full of flying, galloping rhythms, and a run-for-your-life fanfare.
And the Valkyries' main theme, or leitmotif, is just one of the
ingredients in a musical blockbuster by German composer Richard Wagner.
For his story, Wagner raided all his favourite folklore,
and assembled a cast of gods,
and dragon slayers!
All of them caught up in battle to possess a ring.
A ring that has power over all mankind.
I think it might be time to pass this on!
MUSIC: Ride Of The Valkyries
Music's always changing, evolving, you can't stop it.
And why would you want to?
Orchestral music's always on the move,
that's thanks to lots of great new composers.
By the look of this,
Clara is out with one of those composers right now.
MUSIC: Concerto For Turntables And Orchestra by Gabriel Prokofiev
'Continue, straight ahead.'
Gabriel, you wrote this music,
-it's like we're actually inside of your head.
-Yeah, I guess so.
It's like we're inside my head, inside your car.
I know I can definitely hear an orchestra,
but there's something else going on, right?
Yeah, I'm really into orchestral music and composing classical music.
But I'm a fan of hip-hop, dance music, electro, reggaeton,
grime - you name it.
And also I'm really into scratching and turntablism.
So I thought, why can't we bring these styles together?
RECORD SCRATCHES AS CAR MOVES
Turntables are an instrument,
but they don't have any sound of their own
until a DJ gives them one.
And in Gabriel's piece, every single sound is sampled from the orchestra.
It's like the orchestra creates the road ahead.
The DJ, using the same sounds, fires back out new melodies,
making different routes and crazy detours on the journey.
'You have deviated from your route, please turn around.
'Please turn around.'
I have to say, Gabriel,
being inside your head is a very fun place to be!
That's how the story of music goes, really, isn't it?
Music's always reinventing itself,
travelling in loads of different directions.
'Continue, straight ahead.'
-Erm, the opposite of that.
So all we need now is the DJ.
Hey, wake up, man!
MUSIC: Concerto For Turntables And Orchestra
You know what I think inspires great music?
-I reckon this is it!
-Stories of love, jealousy and revenge.
MUSIC: Habanera by Bizet
Love is a rebellious bird.
Ah, that no-one can tame.
-Great idea for a lyric.
Belongs to a gypsy named Carmen.
She sings it in an opera named after her, composed by Georges Bizet.
She looks fiery. Dangerous!
She's got every man and woman in here watching. And she knows it.
A young soldier, already with another girl. But he's lost it.
Lost his heart to her.
She's cast a spell.
Carmen's story is set under a sizzling Spanish sun.
Her music makes me think of a cat, stretching out in the heat.
Slow, enchanting, but with deadly claws.
Ready to pounce.
Well, you were warned!
In opera, the music tells you what you need to know.
MUSIC: Chanson Du Toreador by Bizet
What about this, then?
It's more music from Carmen.
Sounds brave, proud, charming.
It belongs to Escamillo, and he deserves it.
A big celebrity.
You can hear the fanfare, think of him, strutting around the bullring.
This is music for a guy who loves being a star.
We all know the story.
Boy loves girl.
But girl loves another boy.
-And then what?
-I don't know!
But Escamillo kills bulls, Carmen kills hearts!
I am sticking around to find out.
MUSIC: Chanson Du Toreador
Some songwriters or composers just know how to produce a hit.
MUSIC: Trumpet Concerto (3rd Movement) by Haydn
Those composers are just like superstar strikers,
shooting for goal - they just know how to write
a piece of music that's going to hit the back of the net every time.
Joseph Haydn, 18th-century Austrian composer,
used to have to write melodies for the orchestra he managed
that were memorable and bang on target,
otherwise he would get the boot from the prince who employed him.
Luckily, Haydn had an ear for a catchy tune,
the kind that his boss could hum to for weeks and weeks
while wallowing in his posh bath.
His record speaks for itself.
Take this concerto,
where the trumpeter takes the role of superstar striker
and plays a real crowd-pleaser of a melody all of their own.
Haydn knows that's not enough,
so he opts for a rondo formation for this piece.
That's a musical structure where the main melody keeps returning.
Like a chorus, but alternates through different musical interludes
so the rest of the players aren't sitting about doing nothing.
They are providing the interludes, picking up the tempo,
and creating variety.
But in the end, always passing the ball back to the star striker,
who only has eyes for goal.
MUSIC: Trumpet Concerto
Most of us can listen to and create whatever music we like.
We've got that freedom.
Not everyone is so lucky.
Joseph Stalin, dictator of the Soviet Union.
From the 1930s, for over two decades, the Russian composer
Dmitri Shostakovich lived in fear of this man.
Stalin decided what music his people should listen to.
Everyone was watched.
Any composer who didn't conform risked joining the millions of other
people that Stalin had thrown into prison or unmarked graves.
"If they cut off both my hands,
"I will compose with the pen between my teeth."
That was Shostakovich's answer.
And so he kept on composing.
And when his music was praised, he was a national hero.
When it offended Stalin's regime, he slept with his bags packed,
waiting for the secret police to knock at his door.
In 1953, Stalin died.
And Shostakovich was able to finish this piece, his 10th Symphony.
And to me it feels as if the music and emotion that had
been hidden away in his head suddenly came flooding out.
Some people think this is actually an orchestral portrait
of Stalin himself.
But whatever it is, it sounds full of panic and terror and anger.
What can you hear?
Is it the knock on the door in the dead of night,
knives sharpening, bursts of gunfire?
Hearts racing faster?
Stalin's death didn't bring complete musical freedom for Shostakovich.
But it was a moment in his life where he could say what he wanted
out loud in music.
MUSIC: Symphony No. 10 (2nd movement) by Shostakovich
In the middle of all the music we listen to, sometimes there's
one band, one singer, one composer that cuts through.
One musical voice that seems to be speaking just to us.
MUSIC: Toccata And Fugue In Dmin by Bach
When I was about six years old, my dad bought a new record player.
And it came with a free record.
It was an album of organ music by Johann Sebastian Bach.
I must have listened to it hundreds of times.
To be honest, it was the only record we had for a while.
And I sort of fell in love with it.
I went on to learn the piano, and the flute and the saxophone,
and eventually the harpsichord. I studied music at university.
I suppose today I can't really imagine my life without
a classical music soundtrack.
And that's all down to a free Bach record.
This piece is probably one of Bach's most famous.
It was written about 1706. And he, of course,
would not have known that would eventually be used in gaming or...
TINNY TOCCATA AND FUGUE RINGTONE
Or as a ringtone.
Or indeed as a form of shorthand meaning,
something well spooky's about to happen.
That's probably for the best.
It's called Toccata And Fugue In D Minor,
and it's a piece of two parts.
The first part, the toccata,
is basically an opportunity for the musician to show off a bit.
To grab everyone's attention, to get them
ready for this amazing ride ahead.
Hold on a minute.
I reckon the orchestra's itching for a go now.
MUSIC: Toccata And Fugue in Dmin
That was the section of the toccata, but now we come to part two -
Do you mind if I have a go?
Yeah, sure. Be my guest, please.
A fugue is like a sort of perfect musical pattern.
Bach would start off with a fairly straightforward,
simple little melody.
Like that one. Then he might repeat it, higher up.
Or maybe lower.
And then he might turn it upside down,
break it up into fragments, and so on.
But gradually, this incredible piece of music emerges.
Bach's brain could work out these patterns better than any
brain before or since. Apparently he could improvise this stuff.
He could make it up as he went along.
But remarkably, this never created chaos,
it just created incredible, beautiful music.
And in fact, the word fugue means flight in Italian.
And that's what this music seems to do, to me.
It does take flight, it takes off on a journey, an incredible one.
And it's a different journey every single time you listen to it.
That's what's so amazing about it.
MUSIC: Toccata And Fugue in Dmin
So you might want to stick some Bach on your playlist if life
seems pretty good, or maybe some Wagner if you need an energy boost.
And then, there's other music that can give us time to breathe.
Some space to think, and stop the world for a while.
Do you have those days that have gone wrong?
When you lie back on your bed, put some music on - any music -
and imagine you're just floating away from it all?
MUSIC: The Lark Ascending by Vaughn Williams
On those days, I want to be that lark up there,
belting out a beautiful song, high up in the sky.
And up there, just like when you look down from a plane
or tall building, the world seems different.
We become smaller. Maybe our worries do, too.
An English composer called Ralph Vaughan Williams was
walking along the coast near Margate
when he imagined a violin melody that would capture this feeling,
of a bird singing as it makes its steep, vertical flight.
And he called it, The Lark Ascending.
It was September, 1914.
Britain had just entered the First World War.
And soon, Vaughn Williams joined the army and left for France.
In the trenches during that war, some of the few birds
the soldiers ever saw or heard were skylarks,
flying high over their heads.
That birdsong must have sounded like an escape, freedom,
like a different world they'd left behind.
When he came back from the war,
Vaughan Williams returned to his violin piece with its melody.
Fragile, peaceful, out of reach. Like the bird.
And he created this music.
Music that, for me, really can take you to another place.
Wherever you want that to be.
MUSIC: The Lark Ascending
So, where do musical ideas come from?
Most of us aren't going to get very far staring at a blank screen
or an empty page.
But ideas, inspiration, can come from sounds around us.
Memories, stories, poems, photos -
or a picture.
Like the image of a dark, turbulent wave.
That's what composer Anna Clyne saw in her head back in 2012.
And the first thing she did was to paint it.
Then she went over to her piano and started to improvise.
Notes, melodies, rhythms - any music that the image made her think of.
To do this you don't need to know how to read or write music,
you just need to want to make it.
Anna's music grew, the images grew.
Both took on a life of their own. And soon, a Night Ferry emerged.
Charcoal, ribbon, gauze, illustrations -
all went on to the painting.
The ice was here, the ice was there
The ice was all around
Scratched in pencil or thick paint, and lines from poems like
The Rime Of The Ancient Mariner and the tale of his cursed ship.
It cracked and growled
And roared and howled
Like noises in a swound.
You know, our minds are mysterious places.
Where our moods can suddenly turn from light and clear
to dark and stormy.
And that's what Night Ferry is, the journey of a ship,
struggling through the night.
But also a journey through the whirlwind of our own minds!
And that whole musical voyage started in Anna's mind
with one single idea, one image.
MUSIC: Night Ferry by Anna Clyne
Today, film and games are jam-packed with orchestral music.
You know why?
Because you name any emotion, any feeling,
and the orchestra can create it in music.
From heartache and pain, to fear and dread.
MUSIC: Dies Irae by Verdi
Welcome to the end of the world.
This is what it sounds like.
The sky seems to be ripping open with the sound of those drums.
And those voices.
I can't seem to get them out of my head!
They're singing, dies irae.
That's Latin for, day of judgement.
And they sing it over and over and over again.
It isn't a question, it's a statement.
Life IS over.
It's like disaster movie music. An orchestral storm,
destroying everything in its path.
That's because the day of judgement, according to some people,
is the time when everyone that's ever lived
will be brought before the throne of God.
They're summoned by a fanfare.
A fanfare loud enough to wake the dead.
And then, each person's soul either rises up to heaven
or descends into the fiery pits of hell.
There's the trumpets! It's starting! Oh, no!
This Dies Irae is by Italian composer Giuseppe Verdi,
who knew that for believers listening to his music in 1874,
the day of judgement was no story -
it was real.
So Verdi brings that terrible day to life for his audience.
It's his warning in music of incredible power,
far greater than us.
And right now, it still makes me feel small, fragile.
Or maybe, because there's another vast power that we're
all at the mercy of - nature.
And this music sounds to me like a warning -
if we don't respect nature - of our own possible dies irae.
MUSIC: Dies Irae
THEY SING IN LATIN
Music is for listening to. Definitely.
But when I hear music, I don't want to just listen.
MUSIC: Mambo by Bernstein
I want to move!
I want to dance!
A dance can be romantic. It can be frenetic.
It can be a party or a battleground.
Romeo and Juliet, perhaps the most famous lovers of all,
meet during a dance at a masked ball.
A moment of happiness before their two warring families -
the Montagues and the Capulets - tear them apart.
And if you update Shakespeare's tragic love story, what do you get?
West Side Story, a stage musical composed by Leonard Bernstein.
Shakespeare's Verona in Italy becomes New York City in the 1950s,
where a turf war is underway.
The Montagues and the Capulets become two rival street gangs,
the Sharks and the Jets.
And Romeo and Juliet make way for Tony and Maria.
Bernstein had seen Latin dance music when he visited Puerto Rico.
And now he watched as one particular dance craze swept
through New York City in the '50s.
And so for his musical, out went Shakespeare's masked ball,
and in came mambo.
Bernstein's mambo's got fast rhythms packed with semi-quavers
and great melodic lines.
It's full of passion and danger,
just like the emotions on those hot city streets.
It's music to make you move.
# Mambo! #
Ten pieces. Ten!
It's only a start. A few tracks from a playlist.
A MEDLEY OF THE TEN PIECES PLAYS
It's a playlist that's never-ending.
From fugues to film scores...
..fantasylands to dance floors.
The awesome power of the crowd.
A single voice, brave and loud.
From consoles to concertos...
..mambos, big shows...
..heartaches, DJ breaks - what's next?
It's a playlist where classical, orchestral sounds go
side-by-side with pop, hip-hop and whatever else you've got.
Because they're all part of one big, unfolding musical story.
So go hear it, see it, live and online.
and see where the music takes you!
MUSIC: Habanera by Bizet
Classical music but not as you know it... Ten Pieces II is an exciting and immersive family film that mixes a celebrity cast with magical animation, live action and stunning close-up performance to bring ten pieces of orchestral music to life.
In this follow-up to 2014's award-winning Ten Pieces, rising star Alpesh Chauhan conducts the BBC Philharmonic alongside members of the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain in Manchester's atmospheric Victoria Warehouse. Special guests are the Halle Choir, violinist Nicola Benedetti, trumpeter Alison Balsom and DJ Mr Switch.
Christopher Eccleston explores Wagner's dramatic Ride of the Valkyries, Pixie Lott dances to the beats of Bernstein, James May introduces a favourite piece of Bach, Radio 1's Clara Amfo navigates Gabriel Prokofiev's cutting-edge Concerto for Turntables and Orchestra and former footballer Dion Dublin commentates on Haydn's musical moves. Stories weave around the music via motorways and meadows, a nightclub, a football pitch and a church, travelling from Stalin's Soviet Union to the swinging streets of New York, from suburbia to Armageddon.
A thrilling musical ride on a grand scale.