New York, September 14, 2018. The US premiere of the new production of American composer Raphael Mostel’s “Travels of Babar,” a multi-media composition based on Jean de Brunhoff’s famous picture book of the same name “Le Voyage de Babar,” will be presented at Florence Gould Hall in New York City on November 2 (in French) and 3 (in English), 2018.
- What: US Premiere ofnew production of composer Raphael Mostel’s “The Travels of Babar”
- When: In French — Friday November 2 at 7:00pm | In English — Saturday, November 3, at 2:00pm and 4:00pm
- Where: Florence Gould Hall, 55 E 59th St, New York, NY 10022
- For whom: Adults and young alike – (6 years +)
- Tickets: $25 and up| Box Office and Ticketmaster• www.ticketmaster.com or 1(800) 982-2787
Fresh from its universally-acclaimed, sold-out debut in Europe by the Berliner Philharmoniker (“Shouts of Joy” wrote Musik Heute [Music Today]), composer Raphael Mostel’s new “Travels of Babar” is presented by Source Music, Inc. complete in its original scoring for eight musicians and in the full new HD multi-media production with narrator.
- The first performance on Friday, Nov. 2 at 7 PM will be narrated in the original French.
- The new English translation of Phyllis Rose will be used for the narration in the performances on Saturday, Nov. 3, at 2 and 4 PM.
Raphael Mostel’s hour-long show is based on the much-loved classic picture-book of the same name by Jean de Brunhoff.
Laurent De Brunhoff, the 93-year-young son of Jean de Brunhoff who wrote and illustrated more than 45 additional Babar books after his father died, is scheduled to attend the performance on November 2nd and will autograph books afterwards.
“I composed one scene for each of the 46 illustrations of the book, with music as wide-ranging as this humorously wild story is. And on top of that musical travelogue, I have now also created an elaborate visual production using Jean de Brunhoff’s original watercolors of the famous illustrations, from the Bibliothèque nationale de France, the Morgan Library, and private collectors,” explains Mostel.
“This production has become a whole ‘voyage’ within ‘Le Voyage de Babar’,” the composer adds. “Even those who think they know the book well may be surprised at the many details in the original watercolors. The Berliner Philharmoniker’s staff and crew compared the experience to watching a film being edited live in real time.”
Mostel’s production, along with the music, images and theatrical lighting, also includes a narrator reading the text of de Brunhoff’s masterpiece. Originally commissioned and recorded for Japan in 1994, Mostel’s “Travels of Babar” was first mounted in 1998 in California and New York. The world premiere of this complete new production was presented in 2017 in Berlin by the Berliner Philharmoniker.
Calling Jean de Brunhoff “the father of the modern picture-book”, Maurice Sendak wrote “Babar is at the very heart of my conception of what turns a picture book into a work of art. My favorite among Jean’s books, The Travels of Babar, is full of alarming and very amusing twists of fate… dazzling, dramatic.”
The author of Winnie the Pooh, A.A. Milne, wrote: “I salute M. de Brunhoff. I am at his feet.”
Raphael Mostel’s “Travels of Babar” is one of the rare handful of musical works that appeals to a general audience of all ages — young, old and in-between — and all levels of sophistication. Mostel’s composition mirrors the inventiveness of de Brunhoff’s illustrations, using each to showcase different elements of music, turning the “alarming and very amusing twists of fate” into an extraordinarily seductive, wide-ranging voyage through the wondersand power of concert music.
The score will be performed by eight musicians that represent an orchestra in miniature: two winds (clarinet/bass clarinet and bassoon), two brass (cornet, trombone/bass trombone), two strings (viola and cello), plus piano/celesta and percussion.
Mostel has also created new version for full orchestra, and the National Symphony Orchestra will present its US première next April 7, 2019at the John F. Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. (The New York Philharmonic has already performed excerpts of the new version for orchestra of Mostel’s Babar.)
French composer Francis Poulenc was the first to set a Babar story in 1940, “L’Histoire de Babar” (the first book by de Brunhoff), which tells the story of the childhood and adolescence of the famous elephant until he marries Celeste. Mostel added to the musical history of Babar by setting “Le Voyage de Babar”, (de Brunhoff’s second book) which picks up the story when these fanciful elephants leave in a balloon on their honeymoon and subsequent adventures to return home. The Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal gave the world première of the new version for orchestra of Mostel’s composition, performing both Poulenc’s and Mostel’s Babars on the same program.
About Raphael Mostel: Raphael Mostel is a composer, writer and lecturer based in New York City. His works have been performed by the Berliner Philharmoniker, New York Philharmonic, Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal, New York City Opera, the combined brass of the Chicago Symphony and Royal Concertgebouw orchestras. Mostel also founded the Tibetan Singing Bowl Ensemble: New Music for Old Instruments for which he composed a large repertoire that has been frequently broadcast live on WNYC and NPR. Mostel’s compositions were also performed at the atom bomb commemorations at Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan and given a retrospective exhibition at the Performing Arts Library at Lincoln Center.
For over a decade, Mostel has also been co-teaching the “Architectonics of Music”advanced studio with architect Steven Holl at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture Planning and Preservation, as well as consulting on a number of Holl’s projects.
These US premiere performances of “The Travels of Babar” by Raphael Mostel at Florence Gould Hall are presented by Source Music, Inc. — www.SourceMusic.org— with funding from The Florence Gould Foundation.
More information: https://www.sourcemusic.org/mostel-babar-faq