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That's Brooke Shields with the opening words from Margaret Wise Brown's 1942 The Runaway Bunny, set to an original score here by Glen Roven, the Emmy award winning composer. This musical version of the classic children's book -- which has remained in print for its sixty-five years of publishing life, selling close to a million copies a year in the two dozen languages into which it's translated -- is part of a new CD compilation of three orchestrated stories called Paddington Bear's First Concert.
The recording includes England's Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, the Israeli violinist Ittai Shapira, and other artists who retell Brown's story, along with Michael Bond's Paddington Bear (narrated by Stephen Fry with a piano score by Herbert Chappell) and the American composer, George Kleinsinger's famous musical setting for that old favorite, Tubby the Tuba. This enterprise is part of a new group of sophisticated musical adaptations of children's books that take their place with legendary orchestral works, like Prokofiev's Peter and the Wolf and Saint Saen's Carnival of the Animals. And the bunny, the bear, and the tuba have become standards in the repertoire for live family concerts around this country and abroad.
What a gentle alternative this music is to the brittle sounds that can overwhelm our ears these days. And what an important, reassuring thing it is for children to hear, in our often fractured times, that no matter how far or in whatever form a little bunny might imagine to run away -- as a fish, a sailboat, or even a little boy -- someone will follow us and find us and love us.
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Copyright 2007© John Cech
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Wednesday, 02-May-2007 19:34:54 EDT