A beautiful compilation of rare and brilliant music made by children in schools. The album features some incredible sounds - from charming folk songs to full blown avant-garde experiments. Many of these recordings are exceptionally scarce (some selling for close to £1000 these days) and it's unlikely anyone will have heard any of these since they were first recorded.
Recordings made by British children are hardly ever heard. Over the last few decades some schools went to the trouble of privately pressing their own LPs for plays, concerts or celebration – and with very mixed results. I’ve always collected these scarce UK recordings and decided to compile the better ones I’ve found on this new album. I believe Classroom Projects is the first album to bring together a set of such recordings – all made between 1959 and 1981.
As well as excellent small group versions of traditional songs, there are specially written instrumentals, covers of Scarlatti, even songs about drink driving. Also, we have work encouraged by John Paynter, a free-thinker, educator and true maverick. Part of the University Of York music department, he not only believed that music lessons at school were of the upmost importance, he also introduced pupils to the modern composers of the post-war period (such as Stockhausen). So instead of music lessons with group of pupils all blowing the same basic tune on recorders, he encouraged experimentation with tape machines, haiku and creative thought. As a result some of the recordings on this album sound like conceptual music from Paris in the late 50s, and not from secondary schools in Bedford in 1969.
Overall the compilation brings together some inspired musical moments, some unexpected oddness as well as a warm rush of nostalgia as the small choir from St. Brandon;s School (now closed) sing “Bright Eyes”. (source)
"Incredible music made by children in schools" says is it all really. Jonny Trunk has collected the best moments of that most niche of niche collectors' genres, the school album, spanning music by small primary school choirs singing folk songs to full-blown avant-garde experiments written and performed by children still at secondary or grammar school. As with practically all Trunk releases, it's a nostalgic gas for anyone over a certain age - we reckon anyone younger than 25 may be baffled and beguiled by these - but it should certainly strike a nerve with the vast majority of UK citizens schooled in the UK before the '90s when folk standards were largely rejected in favour of Take That and Oasis sing-a-longs (well, at my school anyway), and provide a valuable insight to anyone from beyond these shores. As Jonny points out, it's no Langley Schools Music Project, but there are some massive highlights, none less than Chelmsford County High School's haunting rendition of 'Portland Town', or 'Don't Drink And Drive' by Bradford's Hutton School Choir with the memorable line, "once you drank all your ale, you'll all have the bobby's on your tail", and especially the desolate bleakness of 'Musique Concrete' by Sounds Of Silence - an ensemble organised by John Paynter, who, along with Peter Aston conducted a handful of tracks here and wrote a number of books on the importance and impact of good musical education. So bravo Jonny Trunk, and well done to all the children, top marks all round! (source)