The Narrator’s Book

The Narrator’s Book contains the story, illustrations and information on how the narration fits together with the music.  It bears in mind that the majority of readers may not be musicians themselves and gives the details in as non-musician-friendly way as possible.  For example, rather than include examples of the musical cues themselves it has references such as ‘Continue as the accompaniment starts,’ ‘Pause briefly for the soloist’s short ‘sting’ and then continue,’ and ‘Pause for about ten seconds and then continue over the soloist.’

Consequently it provides a means of a parent being able to participate in an instrumental lesson and for the music student to be able to enjoy participating in an activity with them.  Please note that there is just one narrator’s book for A Wizard and it is suitable for all the instrumental arrangements.

The original illustrations of Gill Vines

 

‘I was put in contact with Gill via a mutual friend.  We first arranged to meet for a coffee which gave me a chance to chat about the project and also gave Gill an opportunity to show me some of her fine artwork.  I was super-impressed but, at the time, unsure if illustrating A Wizard in the Kitchen was something she would want to do.  I really hoped so.  I need not have been concerned though because, less than an hour later, Gill had emailed me a scan of a preliminary sketch for Mrs Kitchen.  It was fantastic, spot on, and just the sort of thing I was looking for!  A couple of months later I was gazing at the complete portfolio of her Wizard illustrations, amazed at how much the style and energy of her drawings brought the story to life.  They seemed to work perfectly with Tony’s wonderful, larger-than-life narration.  I can honestly say that, after some time, I still get as much pleasure from looking at them as I did then.  Thank you Gill.’

Phil Watkins – author

 

‘Talking of Gill’s illustrations bringing the story to life, in a similar vein, I owe an enormous debt of gratitude to Tony Fielding-Raby for the wonderful rendition of the story used on the backing tracks and the videos.  I’ve actually known Tony for many years: I’ve accompanied his singing and I’ve written music for one of the plays he directed.  I was thrilled when he agreed to record the narration for me because I know what a fine actor he his.  Actually, he’s a fine friend as well!  I think we recorded it over two or three sessions and it was a lot of fun.  Really!  And he had an instinctive flair for the zany, panto-style of the script that needed very little in the way of direction.  I honestly don’t think that his portrayal of Mrs K can be battered:  outrageous; ridiculous and as sizzling as an about-to-explode sausage.  Is it  possible to say ‘regular fries and ketchup’ in a more spectacular fashion?  I don’t think so. Thank you Tony.’

Phil Watkins – author

The piano and guitar duets – excerpts

A Wizard in the Kitchen actually started life as a piano duet where the score was played by the two performers as the story was read out by a third person, the narrator.  The duet has since developed into a more adaptable product that can be performed by just two people, where the secondo player can also narrate.  A duet version is now also available for guitar.  Playing and talking is not an easy task for most people and so any instances of the secondo player having to play and narrate at the same time are kept to a bare minimum and where the music score is largely just a repeated pattern.

An option of having a third person to narrate, i.e. a parent, is still possible with the use of the narrator’s book.  The primo parts of both duets are very similar to the piano and guitar solo books and videos but there are a few differences.

The story and illustrations

The story is set in the madcap village of Runnynose, a world in which the inhabitants literally live up to their name.  Unfortunately for Harry, a rather ordinary boy who is about to say farewell to his strange music teacher,  he discovers that she is a lot stranger than he could have possibly imagined…

     A Wizard in the Kitchen is essentially a black comedy where high drama is reduced to absurdity by its colourful and utterly ridiculous leading lady: a tale involving a weird warning; a weary wanderer; a wacky witch and a wayward… piano!  

Click here to read the first part of the story

See how Gill Vines’ illustrations help bring the story to life!

Instrumental arrangements

Hamelin Music wants as many music-makers as possible to be able to enjoy A Wizard and so it has been arranged for twenty different instruments, including some of the more unusual ones.  In alphabetical order…

Alto Saxophone, Bassoon, Cello, Clarinet in Bb, Descant Recorder, Double Bass, Euphonium (treble and bass clef), Flute, Guitar, Horn in Eb, Horn in F, Oboe, Piano, Tenoroon*, Tenor Saxophone, Trombone, Trumpet in Bb, Tuba in Eb (treble and bass clef), Viola and Violin.

For each of the instrumental arrangements, the story and page/video design are the same but the musical content has been adapted to suit the instrument’s particular makeup and challenges, i.e. clef, key, pitch, note range and special effects and, although we are reluctant to put a grade on the musical standard of each arrangement, we recognise that it can be helpful.  We therefore advise that care has been taken to arrange for each instrument at an approximate grade one level.

For each instrument there is the option of playing along with the story via

  • solo book and backing track
  • video
  • solo, piano accompaniment and narrator’s books.

Please note that, instead of this third option, there are duet arrangements available for the guitar and piano where a teacher, playing the secondo part, can also narrate the story.  The Narrator’s Book also adds the option of a parent narrating so that parent, teacher and student can enjoy doing something together!  Incidentally, this was the initial inspiration behind the whole project.

Brass teachers please note that the trumpet in Bb and euphonium arrangements are compatible with the arrangement for trombone and that the arrangements for euphonium and tuba,  solo books and videos, are available in both treble and bass clef.

*To avoid any confusion we would like to make it clear that all references and products relating to the tenoroon, i.e. piano accompaniment, backing track and video, refer to the tenor bassoon in F.

Video trailers and excerpts

All of the A Wizard video trailers follow the same format but each one gives a good indication of the soloist’s score.  In alphabetical order:  Alto Saxophone, Bassoon, Cello, Clarinet in Bb, Descant Recorder, Double Bass, Euphonium (bass clef), Euphonium (treble clef), Flute, Guitar, Horn in Eb, Horn in F, Oboe, Piano, Tenoroon, Tenor Saxophone, Trombone, Trumpet in Bb, Tuba in Eb (bass clef), Tuba in Eb (treble clef), Viola and Violin.

From top to bottom, the following longer excerpts are taken from the A Wizard videos for alto saxophone, trumpet in Bb, piano, trombone, guitar, bassoon and violin.  The story, musical material and visual design of the videos are identical for all twenty instrumental arrangements, however, each one differs in order to suit its appropriate (grade one) criteria i.e. clef, key and note range etc…