Essentially a pair of choral concerts with knobs on, the one-day Voice celebration delivered vivid performances and some quirky new work. Orlando Gough's multi-style, professional vocal ensemble The Shout was the link. In terms of time its presence was marginal - only 15 minutes - but it brought the biggest thrills and loudest cheers.
Nothing marginal, however, about We Turned On the Light. Gough's new piece, given at each concert, threw in the respective choirs and orchestras and specially trained amateur groups, placed in corners of the arena and stalls. Setting a poem by Caryl Churchill about environmental damage, it hurtled along, besieging its catchy but menacing choral lines with offbeat thumps and stings. The second go, with David Robertson and the BBC Symphony Orchestra, had a better feel for its urgent rhythms, while Martyn Brabbins and the BBC Scottish SO made more of its poignant contrasts.
The Shout's other contributions were original and powerful. Gough's Open set the youth choirs humming a drone while Manickam Yogeswaran and Carol Grimes improvised invocations across the hall and the rest of The Shout interjected from the gallery: brilliant use of space. Mike Henry's Stand showed The Shout's full virtuosity in protest settings written in tribute to Trafalgar Square.
The 10th anniversary of Christopher Bell's foundation of the National Youth Choir of Scotland supplied another highlight: three superbly tuned performances of attractive but tricky contemporary pieces, all unaccompanied. For two traditional blockbusters, Poulenc's Gloria and Bernstein's Chichester Psalms, they were joined by members of the National Youth Choirs of Great Britain and the student Rodolfus Choir: precision and passion again.
To end, Prokofiev's ultimate blockbuster Alexander Nevsky was given with panache. Earlier, Christine Brewer's touching directness in Barber's Knoxville reminded us that solo voices had stayed on the fringe. Why not more varied solos - and much more Shout?
BBC Proms, to 9 September (020-7589 8212; www.bbc.co.uk/proms)Reuse content