ENGLISH SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA’S acclaimed storytelling series continues with two beloved tales by the Brothers Grimm read by GEMMA WHELAN and HENRY GOODMAN

9th April – Henry Goodman narrates Thomas Kraines’s setting of ‘Hansel and Gretel’.

16th April – Gemma Whelan narrates Kile Smith’s ‘The Bremen Town Musicians’ with illustrations by members of ESO Youth and students from Chadsgrove School, Bromsgrove.

Performances streamed via (https://www.eso.co.uk/) and on (Facebook|https://www.facebook.com/englishsymphonyorchestra) – both FREE-to-view for four days and available afterwards on ESO Digital.

Double CD featuring the whole storytelling series to be released worldwide 4 June with Nimbus Alliance.

The English Symphony Orchestra (ESO) continue their ground-breaking series of new storytelling works for narrator and orchestra with the world premiere broadcasts of two of the most popular stories by the Brothers Grimm: ‘Hansel and Gretel’ (music by Thomas Kraines) narrated by Henry Goodman, and ‘The Bremen Town Musicians’ (music by Kile Smith) narrated by Gemma Whelan.

HENRY GOODMAN, whose previous appearance with the ESO in David Yang’s ‘Lubin, from Chelm’ was praised for his “barbed whimsy”, returns to narrate Thomas Kraines’s witty and spiky setting of ‘Hansel and Gretel’.

American composer Thomas Kraines says of the piece that “I wrote ‘Hansel and Gretel’ to perform with the children’s musical troupe Auricolae in 2008, and orchestrated it a few years later, at the behest of Maestro Kenneth Woods. My gratitude and awe also go to Henry Goodman, whose nuanced and thrilling interpretation of the story elevates the piece immeasurably.”

Conductor Kenneth Woods says,

“Tom’s piece is full of musical in-jokes – there’s a lot of poking fun at the ‘serious’ nature of German music, in particular.”

Kraines’ story will be illuminated with a collection of historic illustrations from the ‘golden age’ of illustration, featuring drawings and paintings from the late 1800’s to the 1940’s, as well as performance footage of the orchestra.

Kile Smith’s setting of ‘The Bremen Town Musicians’ is narrated by comedian and actress GEMMA WHELAN, who has earned an enthusiastic following for both her regular appearances on ‘Horrible Histories’, ‘Upstart Crow’, and her iconic performance as Yara Greyjoy in ‘Game of Thrones’.

Like ‘Hansel and Gretel’, Smith’s version of ‘The Bremen Town Musicians’ started as a work for violin and cello. David Yang commissioned the duo version of The Bremen Town Musicians for Auricolae in 2008 and it has since been taken up by other ensembles across the America, as far away as Australia and Qatar, and in the Philadelphia Orchestra ‘Our City, Your Orchestra’ 2021 chamber music series.

“I’ve adapted the Brothers Grimm story for my libretto,” says American composer, Kile Smith.

...changing none of the salient features of this tale of four animals who, seeking fortune in the far city of Bremen, fall among thieves, outwit them, and find their good fortune as friends together, never arriving in Bremen.”

The filmed performance also includes a collection of handmade illustrations by members of the ESO Youth ensembles and students from Chadsgrove School, Bromsgrove.

‘The Bremen Town Musicians’ and ‘Hansel and Gretel’ join Kenneth Woods’ setting of ‘The Ugly Duckling’ with HUGH BONNEVILLE, Jay Reise’s ‘The Warrior Violinist’ with DAVOOD GHADAMI and David Yang’s ‘Lubin from Chelm’ with HENRY GOODMAN which are to be released together on a new double CD – ‘Fiddles, Forests and Fowl Fables’ – from Nimbus Alliance on 4 June”.

FREE-to-view for four days and available afterwards on (ESODigital|https://www.eso.co.uk/digital/)

(Hansel and Gretel|https://www.eso.co.uk/hansel/)
– Premieres 6:00PM GMT on Friday 9th April 2021

(The Bremen Town Musicians|https://www.eso.co.uk/bremen/)
– Premieres 6:00PM GMT on Friday 16th April 2021

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