Pinocchio/Beauty and the Beast
Pinocchio/Beauty and the Beast
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These two children's classics have been set to music by two distinguished living composers who have been involved with arts in education for years. Written to entertain and educate young audiences, these masterpieces of fantasy are open to many levels of interpretation, as are most fairy tales, and both deal with how young people learn to love and take responsibility. The music is fresh, colorful, and very accessible.
Michael Gandolfi's Pinocchio's Adventures in Funland is a retelling, for chamber ensemble and narrator, of a few of the many adventures of Carlo Collodi's manic marionette. Dana Bonstrom’s vivid text adaptation is musically illuminated by leitmotifs that enhance and accent the story. Pinocchio, created out of a piece of wood by the old Italian Geppetto, causes only trouble for his creator. In fact, he behaved so much like an ass that he turns into a donkey, after which his character improves somewhat. By the time he’s swallowed by a Dogfish, he’s really quite good. Inside the Fish he discovers his father, old Geppetto, and rescues him.
The living puppet becomes a real boy when he himself learns to love. Pinocchio progresses from wood to living wood to human. He is a humorous presentation of well-intentioned waywardness and misbehavior – a set of contradictions with which children of all ages eagerly identify.
R. Murray Schafer's Beauty and the Beast, an opera for solo voice, masks and string quartet, is based on Madame Leprince de Beaumont's story with a libretto by the composer. Each character is represented by a leitmotif, and therefore distinct for the listener even without the masks. Beauty is content to live under the protection of her father, until his fortune fails. Her encounter with Beast both attracts and repels her. But her subconscious, i.e. the figures in her dreams, force her to realize that she must confront Beast. In so doing, she tames his brutish masculinity and he is transformed into a charming Prince. The two lovers then embark on their life together as young adults.
Michael Gandolfi, born in Melrose, MA in 1956, began his musical life in rock and jazz iimprov at age 8. He then went on to earn advanced music degrees from the New England Conservatory. His music has been performed by many leading ensembles, e.g. the Boston Symphony, BBC Symphony, San Francisco Symphony, and similar organizations. Gandolfi teamed-up with Dana Bonstrom in 2002 for a project commissioned by the Los Angeles Philharmonic Education Division for Gwendolyn Gets Her Wish, performed in the Los Angeles public schools as the cornerstone of a five year arts-in-education initiative. He is on the faculty of the New England Conservatory and the Tanglewood Music Center.
R. Murray Schafer is Canada's most renowned living composer. In 1970 he founded the world Soundscape Project, which led to his revolutionary 1977 book, The Tuning of the World. For the last 20 years he has lived on a farm outside Toronto, devoting his time to composing and writing books about music. His music theater works and five string quartets are evidence of his interest in performance situations in which the environment plays an integral role. Active in music education, his music for children stresses creativity and receptivity rather than theory and skill.