The Icelandic Mickey Mouse goes to the Orchestra:
“Maximus Musicus Visits the Orchestra” is an introduction to the symphony orchestra, its instruments, sounds and musicians for children up to the age of 9.
It is an illustrated book with an accompanying CD, as well as a concert program performed already to great acclaim by the Iceland Symphony Orchestra (ISO) in March 2008.
Vladimir Ashkenazy, Conductor Laureate of the ISO is patron of the project and has been instrumental in bringing this project about.
The story and the music open up the world of music for children as we follow the tale of the mouse, Maximus Musicus. He finds himself by chance in a concert hall and experiences many strange and funny things as well as some wonderful and almost overwhelming sounds as the orchestra rehearses and gives a concert. He enjoys himself so much that he decides to stay in the concert hall and see what happens the next day.
The CD contains a narration of the story with all the sounds and music that go with it, the musicians warming up, tuning, rehearsing and finally playing the pieces. At the end of the CD, the works are performed in their entirely by the Iceland Symphony Orchestra conducted by their principal conductor, Rumon Gamba.
The author, Hallfríður Ólafsdóttir is principal flautist of the Iceland Symphony Orchestra, mother of two young children and an experienced music teacher.
Illustrator Þórarinn Már Baldursson is a violist in the Iceland Symphony Orchestra.
This project is supported by the Iceland Symphony Orchestra, The Icelandic State Radio, the Ministry of Education, the Icelandic Musicians’ Union and the Player’s Committee of the ISO. The book was published by Forlagið Publishing Company in March 2008 and in conjunction, the ISO gave a series of concerts for playschools and a family concert 26th to 29th of March 2008.
The pieces that are played in the story of Maximus Musicus were carefully chosen to suit the young audience.
Ravel’s “Bolero” is easy to listen to, with the repeated melody revealing very interesting and contrasting colours. It is a continuous build up of sound, with the brilliant orchestration by Ravel showing both the colours of individual and different combinations of instruments. The narration describes the piece as it goes along, both the mood of the music and the instruments that are playing.
Aaron Copland’s “Fanfare for the Common Man” is short but very effective, and is a good representation of the brass instruments. This fanfare can easily be exchanged for another one should the artistic director of an orchestra find another more fitting.
The beginning of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony is included for good measure as well as humour, and is played while the mouse goes on a hunt for something edible backstage. For playschool concerts a 40 second version is played, for a family concert the whole of the first movement is played, without repeat.
The encore is one of the most popular Icelandic songs, “A Sprengisandi” by Sigvaldi Kaldalóns. Often sung by Icelandic children and others of all ages, it is the most popular encore of the Iceland Symphony Orchestra, a galloping “tour de force” arranged colourfully by a former player and conductor of the ISO, Páll Pampichler Pálsson.
"Maxi’s Song" was written by the author, Hallfríður Ólafsdóttir. It is already very popular with young children at playschool, who have thoroughly enjoyed singing along with the full orchestra. The playschools prepared for the event by downloading the tune, music and text from the ISO’s website www.sinfonia.is/Maxi.
An English translation of the story is available.
For further information contact: The Iceland Music Information Centre firstname.lastname@example.org
Address: Síðumúli 34, 108 Reykjavík, Iceland
Publisher: Forlagið @ http://www.forlagid.is/