I saw Classical Star on BBC2 and was pleasantly surprised with its execution. Instead of the in your face approach of shows like the X-Factor, this show was a little more down to earth. It started off with a handful of teenage musicians who were evidently talented, but also had worked hard to master their instruments.

The first major challenge was for the musicians was a trip to a shopping mall to busk. There was no glamour, no glitz, but the musicians selected their own repertoire, given a few tips and then left to it. This was an exercise in engaging an audience. I must admit to being slightly surprised at the outcome, with the more talented musicians not necessarily being the more talented entertainers. Just goes to show, performance is more than musical talent.

The second, and final, major task of the week was to perform before their peers. This wasn’t well-groomed, public school teenagers, but everyday common or garden teenagers. Again, the musicians chose their own repertoire, and again, I was slightly surprised at the outcome. Bearing in mind the audience, I was pleasantly surprised to see that it was the more complex, both emotionally and technically, pieces which provoked the most reaction from the audience. Those musicians who had shied away from presenting ‘heavy’ classical, instead going for light classics, were respected and got a polite applause. Those who had gone for harder pieces had their efforts rewarded, with some of the audience visibly moved by the performances. (To the point of tears in some cases). Who says teenagers can’t be interested in classical music?

Finally when it came to elimination, unlike other contemporary shows, this wasn’t some form of public humiliation being passed off as entertainment. It was all fairly private, polite and low-key. I’ll try and keep a reminder in my diary to keep watching. 🙂

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