Thursday 6 February 2014

Roald Dahl's Dirty Beasts turn musical

DIRTY BEASTS illustration © 1983 Quentin Blake
DIRTY BEASTS illustration © 1983 Quentin Blake
The London Philharmonic Orchestra has commissioned composer Benjamin Wallfisch to create three new orchestral works based on Roald Dahl's Dirty Beasts. Dahl's darkly sinister poems with be narrated in full whilst being vividly illustrated by Wallfisch's music. Dahl's poems were first published in 1983, with illustrations by Quentin Blake. This is the first time that the Roald Dahl estate has granted permission for the poems to be set to music.

Wallfisch's three new works will be based on The Porcupine, The Anteater and The Toad and the Snail. The Porcupine will be premiered on 16 February at on of the London Philharmonic Orchestra's FUNharmonics family concerts at the South Bank Centre, with The Anteater performed on 11 May and The Toad and the Snail on 26 October. Each year the orchestra runs three concerts designed to appeal to children of all ages, but especially those aged 3-11. Children also have the chance to play instruments of the orchestra in ‘have-a-go’ sessions before each concert.

Born in 1979, Wallfisch's composing career spans both the concert hall (his Chopin's Waterloo was nominated in the 2013 British Composer Awards) and the film studio (he has worked on over 40 films). It will be interesting to see if his new pieces achieve the composer's state aim of introducing children to music in the way that Prokofiev's Peter and the Wolf does.

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