“G. Prokofiev Concerto For Turntables & Orchestra” – Heritage Orchestra feat. DJ Yoda (Non Classical) [ALBUM] August 28, 2009Posted by rocketsciencemedia in Press Releases.
Borne out of a passion for two seemingly disparate strands of music – hip hop and classical – the Concerto for Turntables & Orchestra was conceptualized nearly 7 years ago by pianist and independent producer Will Dutta (Chimera Productions).
Dutta says, “Throughout the rich history of western classical music there has always been a cross-pollination of sound between art music and folk/dance idioms; be it in the Partitas and Suites of J S Bach or Bartók’s in-depth study of folk song. Concerto for Turntables & Orchestra acknowledges and builds on this tradition, drawing on hip hop, the 21st century’s most prolific sound, and more specifically its instrument of choice, the turntable.”
Back in 2005 Dutta brought together Gabriel Prokofiev and DJ Yoda to collaborate on the piece. It was after an initial meeting between the two that Gabriel decided that in a similar approach to a Classical Concerto, the score would aim to explore most of the different techniques available from the turntable as a solo ‘instrument’, with each movement focusing on certain DJ skills. From ‘Scribbling’ and ‘Crabbing’, simple cutting & scratching, to actually beat juggling with the Orchestra and virtuosic solos, the instrument is fully tested. In the more lyrical fourth movement the turntable is actually used as melody instrument, using the pith control and 33 / 45 rpm button to create a 6-note scale, and sampling a flute note from the Orchestra which results in a haunting sound reminiscent of a theremin. In fact, all the sounds on DJ Yoda’s vinyl are samples taken from the orchestra: this was Gabriel’s way of sonically bringing the Turntable and Orchestra together to give the concerto an organic, unified sound.
Once the score was composed, the final challenge was deciding on how to notate the DJ part. Prokofiev explains, “We found that simplicity was the key as DJs are not used to following scores. I prepared skeleton guide parts for Yoda but most was learnt during rehearsals, and a lot of the detail & ornamentation is improvised. This characteristic of the instrument allowed the piece to give a nod to the early days of the concerto when soloists were given a lot more freedom to improvise, so in one way, this new instrument is bringing the concerto back to it roots”.
The piece was premiered by DJ Yoda and the Heritage Orchestra before a crowd of amazed spectators at London’s Scala as part of Audi’s TT Remastered campaign in summer 2007, receiving critical acclaim for its daring innovation and success in bringing classical music into a modern forum.
The album features the five-movement concerto as performed by DJ Yoda and Heritage Orchestra, followed by 11 inspired remixes that twist and contort Prokofiev’s work using modern production techniques. Remixers include Heavy Deviance, Monster Bobby (from The Pipettes), Li’ll Bo Tweak (aka Trevor Loveys), Cerebral Productions, Kreepa, Medasyn and from composer Gabriel Prokofiev himself.
DJ Yoda is one of Britain’s most admired, original club DJs and an AV pioneer who is constantly pushing the possibilities of audio-visual manipulation. His keenly-defined sense of humour has captured the imagination of the masses making him possibly the only DJ in the world who can fill a club cutting the Indiana Jones theme music with dirty dubstep beats or 80’s pop with New York rap. A judge for three years-worth of DMC DJ World Finals, tipped by Q Magazine as one of ‘The 10 DJs you must see before you die’ and voted alongside DJ Premier as ‘One of the Top Three DJs in the World’ in Hip-Hop Connection magazine, DJ Yoda represents a new brand of mix-master who can happily play any kind of music to make people dance.
“To explore this literally uncharted territory takes guts – who knows where they might go?” – The Guardian
The Heritage Orchestra collaborates with present-day artists from converging disciplines and challenges orchestral stereotypes; encouraging new work that engages the public through relevance, risk, and reinvention. Recent successes have included the realisation of Vangelis’ Blade Runner soundtrack for Massive Attack’s Meltdown Festival at the Royal Festival Hall in 2008. Other projects of note have included an appearance on the BBC Electric Proms with The Streets, a concert at the Royal Albert Hall with the Cinematic Orchestra, work with Amon Tobin, Deodato, Airto Moreira, Plaid, Stan Sulzmann, plus new relationships created with singer-songwriter Jonathan Jeremiah, Razorlight, Arctic Monkeys and more.
“Prokofiev is returning classical music to its populist roots by trading ideas with dance music” – The Guardian Guide
Gabriel Prokofiev is a London-based composer, producer, and founder of the NONCLASSICAL record label & club night. For the last eight years he has also been producing Dance, Electro & Hip-hop music under a variety of different guises. In 2003 he returned to his classical roots composing a critically acclaimed String Quartet for the Elysian Quartet (“Stunning” – DJ Magazine; “defies comparison” – Daily Telegraph) which he released on NONCLASSICAL, complete with remixes of the original Quartet. What gives his contemporary classical writing its unique edge is Gabriel’s background in dance music combined with his classical roots.
His compositions include a widely acclaimed 2nd String Quartet for The Elysian Quartet, a collection of piano pieces for Russian virtuoso pianist GeNIA, as well as the groundbreaking Concerto for Turntables & Orchestra. Other recent works include a large scale piece (IMPORT/EXPORT) for percussionist Joby Burgess”s group PowerPlant, using Junk objects; a piece for solo violin & solo dancer for the Rambert Dance Company.
Will Dutta, pianist, collaborator and independent producer, works within the shady borders of contemporary classical music. Collaborations so far include Plaid and Max de Wardener as well as hosting performances by top soloists and ensembles such as the Elysian Quartet, Leafcutter John and Powerplant in recent editions of Blank Canvas, a night that has a reputation for eclectic, contemporary classical and experimental music programming, which pays no heed to classical music conventions. He was also recently awarded a place on the PRS Foundation’s first New Music…Plus scheme where he will co-produce a major new co-production with Tate Britain in late 2009.
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