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Blog 2: Funky Pigs, and other stories

Second week, second Sunday, second blog post, right on schedule. It really has been a busy, exciting, and wonderfully crazy week chez Magnard.

Wednesday saw the second session of our four-week project with Wigmore Hall and Manorfield Primary School - more games, more fun, and of course more composition! The children of Year 5 are coming up with lots of brilliant musical ideas to portray the story of Roald Dahl's Goldilocks, with Jon, Cat and myself on hand to help them organise and structure their pieces. After a recapping session on what was covered in the first session, the class split off into three groups, with each group taking a specific section of the poem to work on. So far the children have come up with rhythmic and melodic ideas using significant or vivid words in the poem, worked out a structure for their piece based on that of the text, and are now starting on using their raw musical materials to create their musical story, focusing on instrumental timbres, characters, speeds, dynamics and musical moods. (for a sample of our work, see gallery below). Another rewarding and fun-filled session is over, and the anticipation for the culmination day at Wigmore Hall on the 3rd December is certainly building.

Come Thursday, the whole quintet regroups (with a guest in the form of the wonderful oboist Henry Clay, kindly standing in for Mana) for a school concert with the Cavatina Chamber Music Trust. This organisation does amazing and extensive work introducing high-quality and engaging chamber music to young audiences all over London and the UK, and we have had the privilege of being able to work with them for a couple of years now. A dreary morning in Finsbury Park is forgotten as the children of Stroud Green Primary School discover the wonderful world of wind instruments and wind chamber music - featuring music by Haydn, Ibert, Arnold, Prokofiev and more, interspersed with games and zany demonstrations utilising items as bizarre as a hosepipe, a rubber glove, a water bottle, a piece of string... It really does have to be seen to be believed!

On Friday our final two members, Suling and Kenny, join the merry band at Holborn Studios (confusingly, not in Holborn at all, but Hoxton, East London) for a day in front of the camera. Teaming up with photographer extraordinaire Ben Ealovega, who has photographed some of the most iconic personalities in the classical music world, and the Artist Manager at the City Music Foundation, Tabitha McGrath, we set about creating some amazing images to promote our Roald Dahl project starting next year. These will range from formal group and individual shots, to magically levitating instruments, wolf shadows and Lego hats, as well as a stylised Red Riding Hood shot that took virtually the whole ensemble and crew to assemble! We frequently dissolve into fits of laughter at the sheer craziness of it all, but thankfully Ben and Tabitha keep us on track and together we hopefully will have created some memorable images that we can't wait for you to see.

That's all for now,



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