On 29 June, the final large-scale Jackdaws Education project of 2015-16 saw children from four Somerset schools perform their own response to Vivaldi’s Four Seasons in a special performance at Robert Blake and Elmwood School in Bridgwater.
Using the sonnets which inspired Vivaldi during his original composition, each school developed a response to a particular season with the team. Vivaldi’s sonnets tell a story of the weather and the impact upon humans but our students wanted to update this story to make it more relevant to them, so the four seasons were recomposed to tell of the way we have mistreated Mother Earth, Gaia (ancient English for Earth) so that both her and mankind are now suffering from extreme weather.
All schools agreed that our story needed a superhero; he was to be called Sascha, from Alexander, meaning defender of Mankind. Sascha tries to help Gaia and the people of Earth defend themselves against the weather and the evil duo of the fly-tipping Dr Cuckoo and Lord Bacchus, head of the big oil corporations, poisoning the rivers and oceans.
Ultimately, the people realise they have to work together to help Sascha and unite to save Gaia. Though they succeed, they realise there is still a lot to be done and at the end they pledge to do a better job of looking after the Earth.
The music, mostly adapted from the famous suite of violin concertos, also featured special selections from Vivaldi’s Gloria, and was performed live by Music Director & pianist, William Carslake, violinist Flora Curzon and Jackdaws Artistic Director, Saffron van Zwanenberg. The children performed in choirs and in percussion orchestras.
The unique Song Story project was designed to introduce children to the music of the great composers by engaging them in a live performance, using the composer’s music as inspiration to a dramatic narrative of their own creation.