The Adventures of Toad
This year - 2008 - is the hundredth anniversary of the publication of Kenneth Grahame's classic children's book The Wind in the Willows. To coincide with this event, Fine Arts Brass have re-commissioned the composer Ilona Seckacz to rework an idea she was originally asked to write for us some sixteen years previously. The result for 2008 is an almost completely reworked piece for a new generation of children to enjoy. Using the same title as before it is now a descriptive piece of music for brass quintet and narrator, similar in concept to the children's classic Peter and the Wolf but unlike that, this new version of Adventures of Toad includes lots of participation for a young audience.
Taking The Wind in the Willows as its starting point, the piece follows the character of Toad who gets into many scrapes with his big ideas about caravans and motor cars. The story is narrated like Peter and the Wolf and similarly the brass instruments and melodies represent characters and ideas from the book. During the performance the audience is required to sing three songs and make various sound effects. In order to enable a effective performance of The Adventures of Toad we are posting the music for the songs here on our website so the children can participate in the forthcoming performance and thereby practice them in advance of our visit. By downloading a combination of the various files below, music teachers and music co-ordinators will be able to teach the children these songs by either singing along with the MP3 sound files with word sheets for the children or by downloading the piano reductions of the songs to play with the children singing along. In addition, if the children have the ability to read music you can also download the vocal parts for them to sing to.
Ilona Sekacz writes music for the theatre and films. Much of her work has been for the Royal Shakespeare Company, the National Theatre and the West End theatres, and she is dividing her time at the moment between Chichester Festival Theatre, where Aristo is previewing, and Theatr Clwyd in Mold, where The Suicide is about to open. She has written scores for two Oscar nominated films, one of which, Antonia's Line, won in the Best Foreign Language Film category. In addition she is producing a children's opera that was written by Hans Krasa in 1938, and performed in the concentration camp at Terezin. The opera will be performed by Coventry children in January 2009 as part of the Holocaust Memorial Day. Ilona also coaches and conducts Coventry's "Singing City Choir" with whom she is engaged in a four year project to research old music, and create new music based on memory and place. She is involved in several 'soundscaping' projects - recording sounds, stories and music, and transforming them into evocative and atmospheric tracks - and she enjoys community work using words, sounds and music to bring people together.
Download the programme note in PDF (.pdf) or Word (.doc) format.
Materials to download
Below are links to the music for the three songs, with and without piano, as well as the words, all in .PDF format. There are also demo MP3 files of the three songs.
Words and Music:
Downloading: If you simply click on the link you may not get the desired result (it may open in your web browser or you'll get a technical looking message!). So...
Right-click on the link (Mac/Windows) or hold the control key and click the link (Mac only). A popup menu will appear, offering you something like 'Download link to disk'. Select that and put the file where it's most convenient for you.
Opening and printing: If you haven't already got it, you'll probably need Adobe Acrobat Reader, so click the link below to get it, then you can open your part and print it from there.
Get Acrobat Reader (If you are lucky enough to be a Mac OS X user, the Preview application that comes as part of OS X will do just as well or better.)