THREE BELOVED CLASSIC CHILDREN'S STORIES
THE RUNAWAY BUNNY
TUBBY THE TUBA
FEATURED IN MUSICAL VERSIONS ON
AMERICAN SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA'S WORLD PREMIERE OF GLEN ROVEN'S THE RUNAWAY BUNNY WILL BRING ITTAI SHAPIRA AND BROOKE SHIELDS TO CARNEGIE HALL APRIL 29, 2008
With colorful orchestral arrangements and delightful narration, a new recording on Sony Classical brings together musical versions of three of the world's most beloved and best-selling stories for children – The Runaway Bunny, Paddington Bear and Tubby the Tuba.
The new CD will be in stores on Tuesday, April 8, 2008. Three weeks later (April 29), at Carnegie Hall's Stern Auditorium, internationally renowned Israeli violinist Ittai Shapira will join narrator Brooke Shields, composer/conductor Glen Roven and the American Symphony Orchestra for a world-premiere performance of Roven's The Runaway Bunny.
Published in 1942, Margaret Brown's The Runaway Bunny, illustrated by Clement Hurd, has been in print ever since. It continues to sell nearly one million copies per year in the 23 languages into which it has been translated. The simple plot centers upon a rabbit child that wishes to leave home, and the mother rabbit who declares: "If you run away, I will run after you." The Runaway Bunny is featured in the last scene of the film Wit, in which a university professor reads the book to a dying former pupil. By chance, this figured into Roven's involvement with the story.
"I had been looking to write a piece for Ittai, who has such amazing technical skills as a violinist that he can play faster and higher than anyone," recalls Roven. "After watching Wit, I ran out and bought a copy of The Runaway Bunny. As soon as I read it, I knew that this beautiful little book would be perfect for a musical adaptation."
Initially, says Roven, "the piece was going to be for violin, orchestra and a singer – but Ittai came up with the idea of a narrator. When we approached Brooke Shields, she told us she already knew and loved The Runaway Bunny. In fact, she said she found the book so moving that she couldn't ever get through reading it to her three-year-old daughter Rowan without crying."
Shapira said he thoroughly enjoyed his work on the project: "The hopping theme – which is in the very first passage – presents some wonderful technical challenges for a violinist. And the recording session with Brooke, in London, was very touching. She had Rowan in the studio with her – and it was an amazing experience for me as a musician to see how honestly and deeply the piece communicates to a mother and child."
The new Sony Classical recording – titled The Runaway Bunny/Paddington Bear's First Concert/Tubby the Tuba – features the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. The Paddington selection is based on Michael Bond's best-selling series of children's books about a marmalade-eating bear "from Darkest Peru" who combines the innocence of a child with the sophistication of an adult. On the CD, British actor/comedian/novelist Stephen Fry reads Bond's words to a piano score by Herbert Chappell.
Like Sergey Prokofiev's Peter and the Wolf and Camille Saint-Saens's The Carnival of the Animals, Tubby the Tuba has introduced generations of children to orchestral music. The original recording – with George Kleinsinger's musical setting of Michael Tripp's text – has sold more than 13 million copies; the Library of Congress called it a landmark in audio history. On the recording, Fry narrates as the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra performs Kleinsinger's music.
Four-time Emmy Award winner Glen Roven is equally at home in classical and popular music. He has conducted the National Symphony, the Munich Philharmonic, The Radio Luxembourg Orchestra, and many others. He conducted the past four Presidential Inaugural Concerts. His new musical, Norman's Ark, will open the LA Music Festival in May 2008. Another new musical, The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T, is scheduled to open on Broadway in 2009.
A Juilliard School graduate, virtuoso violinist Ittai Shapira has appeared with many orchestras, including the Detroit Symphony, Russian Philharmonic, Czech National Symphony, English Chamber Orchestra and the symphony orchestras of Jerusalem, Budapest and Shanghai. He has performed as a recitalist and chamber musician and has appeared at festivals worldwide. He made his Carnegie Hall debut in 2003 with the Orchestra of St. Luke's, performing the world premiere of a violin concerto written for him by Shulamit Ran.
RCA Red Seal, Sony Classical, deutsche harmonia mundi, Masterworks Broadway and Masterworks Jazz are labels of SONY BMG MASTERWORKS. For e-mail updates and information regarding RCA Red Seal, Sony Classical, deutsche harmonia mundi, Masterworks Broadway and Masterworks Jazz artists, promotions, tours and repertoire, please visit www.sonybmgmasterworks.com.