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<<  -- 2 --  Patric Standford    CREATING 'THE EMPEROR'S ORCHESTRA'


20 June 2000

Two stories from BR. Both attractive little pieces -- 'The Girl who Swallowed the Wind' and 'Muscovy Duck's Red Berry'. But reading them through several times over the following week or so, I felt neither needed any music. Which is my complaint about Blake's 'Snowman' -- a film with attractive music, but not a concert story needing an orchestra. Neither for that matter is Poulenc's Babar.

7 July 2000

Wrote my reservations to JP-J and Ian K. Not the best way to make a friend of Yorkshire's leading -- and now award winning -- Shakespearian director. However, I should suggest something positive. Would search my own resources for a story.

24 July 2000

After a third weekend of searching among stories from Britain, Scandinavia, Hungary, Poland, the Baltic, Icelandic sagas, I thought to look in a dusty file of my own writing -- why not? Years ago (in the mid 70s perhaps) I worked on various commercial projects with a former student of mine, by then an invaluable colleague, Jerry Lanning. He established Middle 8, an ingenious music publishing enterprise, and among the plans was a series of musical stories for children. I found typescripts of some of them. On re-reading last night, one immediately appeals to me. I think I wrote it, but more than likely Jerry and I wrote it together. A second reading and I felt hooked -- again after 25 years! The Emperor's Orchestra -- concerning a band of players whose performances are going downhill because of considerable boredom, and the threat of the Emperor's impetuous daughter to leave the palace if it didn't improve. The Court Adviser recommends finding a composer (which is what all bored orchestras need!); a proclamation is issued; several turn up but none impress the Princess. And then a pipe-playing woodcutter is found whose magical gift brings about the revival of the orchestra's former glory -- and the Princess marries him! Re-typed and sent off to the Management.

8 August 2000

Brief letter from JP-J: The Emperor's Orchestra seems a great idea -- did you write it? Am sending a copy to Barrie and will get back to you.

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Copyright © 8 May 2001 Patric Standford, Wakefield, West Yorkshire, UK






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