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Nick Gibb: ‘Expose youngsters to classical music’

9th November 2015

As a keen listener to Desert Island Discs, I am always impressed by the accuracy with which interviewees can pinpoint the moment they first came across a piece of music. Early exposure to music ingrains itself in the mind, allowing it to become a constant companion for the rest of one’s life.

Singing in the St Edmund’s Parish Church Choir in Roundhay, Leeds, as a child gave me a lasting love for choral music. The delight I still feel today when I listen to ‘Zadok the Priest’ by Handel or Allegri’s ‘Miserere’ can be traced back to my schooldays.

Such memories are why I entirely support the ABRSM’s ‘Classical Hundred’ initiative, launched this week. The ABRSM have worked alongside Classic FM to develop this online app, which catalogues one hundred landmark pieces of classical music for use in primary schools.

High quality recordings of each piece, kindly made available by the record label Decca, are accompanied by a short explanation of its content and context. This is designed to support primary school teachers across the country to incorporate classical music into their teaching.

Starting with ‘O Euchari’, a piece of Medieval choral music written in the 12th century by Hildegard of Bingen, and ending with ‘Eliza Aria’ by Elena-Kats Chemin, the Classical Hundred spans 900 years, covering Bach and Britten, Pachelbel and Puccini. It is a truly wonderful collection, including pieces which cannot fail to entertain young children, such as Rimsky-Korsakov’s ‘Flight of the Bumble Bee’ and Prokofiev’s ‘Peter and the Wolf’, alongside more challenging pieces such as Elgar’s Cello Concerto.

Read more on the Telegraph website