The Art of Storytelling – The Ugly Duckling

Music from Wyastone – Studio Concert Series


Kenneth Woods  The Ugly Duckling


English Symphony Orchestra
Conductor: Kenneth Woods

Available from 1800 GMT, Friday 27th November 2020

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Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf has been a beloved staple of orchestras around the world since it was written in 1936, but surely a new century invites new storytelling works for young people?

ESO’s ‘Art of Storytelling’ project presents world premiere recordings and broadcasts of five exceptional works for narrator and orchestra. From the cheeky humour of the Brothers’ Grimm to the touching tale of Hans Christian Andersen’s Ugly Duckling, and from the Jewish humour of Lubin from Chelm to the ancient Egyptian tale of The Warrior Violinist, this is classic family entertainment for the modern age at its finest, a powerful synthesis of great literature and great music.

About the Piece – The Ugly Duckling

When an aging Hans Christian Andersen was asked “why have you not written an autobiography?” he answered simply, “I have. It is called The Ugly Duckling.” Andresen’s children’s novella is one of the great literary works of the 19th Century, a masterpiece which embraces the whole of the human journey through life from the most agonising moments of rejection and self-loathing to the euphoria of true self-acceptance.

Beautiful and evocative illustrations by Polish-American artist and musician, Wanda Soieska, bring an additional level of emotion to this poignant melding of music, word and image.

About the Composer – Kenneth Woods

ESO Artistic Director Kenneth Woods has had a lifelong interest in composition, songwriting and improvisation, and wrote his first pieces before his 10th birthday. He is also an accomplished arranger and orchestrator, whose recent projects include his orchestration of David Yang’s Lubin from Chelm and the Brahms Piano Quartet in A Major, which was chosen as one of the 10 Best Classical Recordings of 2018 by The Arts Desk.

Recorded at Wyastone Concert Hall, Monmouth on 30th July 2020