Fairy Tales

Thursday, 8 September 2016
Union Hall at 19.30 pm



Maurice Ravel (arr. Rob Zuidam): Mother Goose
Modest Musorgski (arr. Raaf Hekkema): Night on Bald Mountain
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (arr. Raaf Hekkema): Nutcracker Suite, Op. 71a
Giel Vleggaar: Wake Up Sleeping Beauty
Edvard Grieg (arr. Jelte Althuis): Peer Gynt Suite No. 1, Op. 46
Richard Strauss (arr. Oliver Boekhoorn): Till Eulenspiegel's Merry Pranks


Art has certainly found the fastest way into children's consciousness through works created especially for them – in literature this is accomplished by stories and fairytales. And yet stories of all kinds carry messages which extend further and deeper into the inner psychological landscape of humans; therefore, it is not surprising that children's stories enchant adults as well and have traditionally inspired over and over also artists in many different artistic disciplines. However, it is especially music that seems to be the most suitable medium for telling stories brimming with underlying meanings and emotions. Wagner was also well aware of this; he chose the substance of his operatic works from fairytale and mythological themes, believing that music is itself elevated above the mundane life and can therefore convey such tales, which appeal more to the human spirit and emotions than to the practical mind.

The world of fairytales inspired also many other composers. The reed quintet Calefax, which originates from the famous Amsterdam tradition of master wind-instrument musicians, but which, unlike the standard wind quintet, is made up of only reed instruments, has selected a variety of compositions with fairytale themes and arranged them for their specific ensemble.

Fairytales will first be channelled through music in Ravel's delicate impressionistic notions inspired by child muses. His composition Mother Goose was written for the children Mimi and Jean Godebski, for whom he set to music their favourite fairytales for piano for two players. Contrasting images of dramatic impressions from Russian legends will be conveyed by the quintet with the symphonic tone poem Night on Bald Mountain by Mussorgsky.  To many a listener, this interpretation will bring to mind Disney's animated film Fantasia. The adventurer of youthful escapades will be illustrated by Till Eulenspiegel by Richard Strauss and a complete fairy-tale envelopment will be provided by the arrangements of excerpts from the beloved works The Nutcracker by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky and Peer Gynt by Edvard Grieg.