Ashforth Children's Concert: Babar the Elephant

Curiosity Concerts Event Type: Children's Program
Date: 1/5/2014
Start Time: 2:00 PM
End Time: 3:00 PM
 On Sunday, January 5 at 2 p.m., Greenwich Libraryís Ashforth Childrenís Concert Series will present Francis Poulencís Story of Babar the Elephant, for piano and narrator, with words by author Jean de Brunhof. The concert is part of the Curiosity Concerts Series for children and will be held in the Cole Auditorium. Open to all at no charge, (recommended for children ages 5-8 years old and their interested siblings) no tickets or reservations required.

Musical lore has it that one day in 1940, French composer Francis Poulenc was working on his signature atonal music. His young cousin, Sophie, did not appreciate his musical style. She placed her copy of The Story of Babar the Little Elephant upside down on the pianoís music stand and said, ďPlay this.Ē

Poulenc improvised an accompaniment to each scene and Sophie was thrilled.

According to Dr. Daniel Goodman, a pianist who studied physics and music at Princeton and MIT, and is a contributor to, Poulenc uses various devices to color scenes from Babarís life. Slow, low piano tones suggest lumbering elephants; high staccato notes, the call of birds. Use of the sustain pedal blurs the scene like a jungle mist.

Poulencís approach, says Goodman, uses mostly color (timbre and tone quality), rather than melody to illustrate the story. This is in contrast to Prokofievís Peter and the Wolf, in which every animal had a distinctive theme. Goodman encourages us to listen carefully for Poulencís themes, which are more challenging to identify than Prokofievís. For example, Babarís joyful opening theme returns sadly when he remembers his mother. And his motherís lullaby reappears loudly when the elephant mothers search for their children.

Pianist Jeewon Park will present this delightful piece, accompanied by Benjamin Luxon as narrator. Bring your copy of Babar and follow along!

The Ashforth Concert Series is designed to introduce children to classical music performance. The concert is open to the public at no charge through the support of Georgie and Henry A. Ashforth.

Curiosity Concerts is a new series of classical music concerts for families with children ages 5-8 years old and their interested siblings of any age. The concerts are performed by professional national and local musicians and presented at various venues in the Greenwich, CT area. The series is a coalition effort launched in association with the Greenwich Arts Council.

Library: Greenwich Library
Location: Cole Auditorium
Contact: Public Relations Office
Contact Number: 203-622-7965