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Update from Emma’s most recent NYO Inspire course:
From the 18th to the 24th of April, I took part in a NYO Inspire course that took place in Canterbury. On this course, we played one vocal and body percussion piece, and then split into two groups, with one group doing a creative project and the other taking part in a modern orchestral piece. We were preparing for a performance in Coventry Cathedral as part of the New Music Biennial this year.
The Vocal and Body Percussion piece was called Hands Free, composed by Anna Meredith, choreographed by David Ogle. This piece has been performed at the BBC Proms in 2012 by the NYO and also performed in other countries around the world. The piece consist of 3 movements: movement one is a body percussion piece which starts off with a simple pulse and then we split into 6 groups (which are used in movements 2 and 3 as well) and perform a body percussion rhythm / routine. Movement two is a vocal movement where we hum a C minor scale with people holding different notes in the scale and then ending with 2 groups singing a melody, which leads on to movement 3. Movement three is beatboxing and body percussion movement. This is the longest movement which included individual body percussion moments and many times of going into canon (where we perform a section at different times to others, in this case, other groups). The 3rd movement also consists of more complicated techniques such as phases and metric modulation.
The orchestral piece was called Mighty River, composed by Erollyn Wallen, is a piece that was commissioned for the 200th year of the abolition of Slavery Act (2007) and is dedicated to her great-great-great-great-great-great grandmother, for her bravery and determination ‘in the face of dreadful odds’. The piece starts with a lovely horn solo of the famous song, Amazing Grace, a very common spiritual that was sung by the enslaved people to keep their spirits high in the terrible conditions they were faced with. The tempo then increases slightly, with the violins keeping a consistent tempo through the use of quavers. “Amazing Grace’ is played throughout the piece in various sections by the flute, oboe and first violins. The piece also feel like a river with very smooth chords and some melodic lines, and the use of the harp really feels calming, almost like waves of the ocean. There are some sharp interjections by the brass, and specifically the use of augmented 4ths in the horn section. The piece then ends with another horn solo of ‘Amazing Grace’, but it is more free than the first time it is played, and is accompanied by percussion, specifically African drums, and then finishes with a lovely consonant chord, which gradually disappears and fades away into nothingness.
The creative piece was not based around instruments, and the ‘instruments’ used were made with rubbish from people’s homes. Although, the piece included some improvised horn solos, cello solos, flute solos and clarinet solos with a steady percussive beat throughout, and it was great fun to listen to, but was sadly not performed in Coventry Cathedral.
The music course was great fun, and it was fantastic opportunity to play new contemporary music, and see different styles of music such as hands free instead just orchestral playing. It was also a great opportunity to meet new people and make music with even more talented young musicians from all over the country. The performance in Coventry Cathedral was also such an amazing venue to play in: the whole course was just absolutely fantastic.Emma, French Horn, year 9
NYO Inspire is the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain’s game-changing inclusion and access programme, which provides free orchestral opportunities for teenage musicians playing at Grade 6 standard.
Click here to find out more. S
Speak to Emma (year 9), Erin (year 9) and Brooke (year 11) for first-hand experiences!
Les Mis – 28th April – What a fab trip!
Trip reviews to follow – watch this space.
Here’s the piece we started to learn this week:
Here’s the song we started to learn this week:
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