A Fairy Tale

for five performers: tale teller, nonsense gabller, clap/stomp, the environment and mime artist

Torbjörn Hultmark

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for five performers: tale teller, nonsense gabller, clap/stomp, the environment and mime artist

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Composer Torbjörn Hultmark
Year of Composition 1987
Duration ca.9'
ISMN 9790570680085
Categories (all composers) ,
Catalogue ID ce-th1aft1


“This work was a real joy to hear and see, and was extremely well crafted as a piece.” “…a truly amazing performance. I can’t wait to see it the next time…”

– John Wallace in the Brass Herald (UK), Issue 9.

“…in equal measures hilarious and terrifying…”, “a sensational performance of a unique and fantastical piece!’”

– Richard Leonard in the Brass Herald (UK), March/April 2017

The scene: a remote castle in a vast scandinavian forest; a princess, an elk, cows, trolls, fairies, witches, owls, strange creatures, the wind, a pond. A heart…

A Fairy Tale is scored for five performers: Tale Teller (narrator), Clap/Stomp Person (body percussion), Nonsense Gabbler, Cow Horn and Mime Artist.

The music has its roots in Scandinavian folklore where mythical creatures, fairies, owls, trolls and mountains are commonplace. The tale is the story of a young princess riding out on the back of an elk into a dark and sinister forest. It is also the story of love, a lost heart and a silent pond.

Tale Teller (narrator) tells the tale through different voices for the different characters in the story [the princess, the elk, witches, trolls, fairies etc etc]; shouting, whispering etc..

The Mime Artist tells the tale through visual representations of the different characters.

The Clap/Stomp Person (body percussion) is a one-man-band performing both as the rhythm section and the heart-beat (the heart, which eventually gets lost in a deep pond in the middle of a Scandinavian forest). The heart plays a central part in the story);

The Nonsense Gabbler reads/gabbles nonsensical elements of Swedish verbal folk-music colloquialisms derived from general folk-music speak.

The Cow Horn (the Environment!): the wind, creaking trees, owls, traditional-sounding Scandinavian cow horn melodies as well as environmental sounds from an imagined 19c mythical Scandinavian forest.

The text is based on an old Swedish fairy tale, here cut-up and abstract – the narration becomes less about telling the story and more about what spiritually goes on in the mind of the princess etc.

A Fairy Tale was commissioned by Music at Mill House, Oxfordshire, England, UK in its original version, and by the Headspace Ensemble in a revised version premiered in 2005 at the St Magnus Festival, Orkney Islands, Scotland, UK.

The version presented here by Composer’s Edition is the original version for five performers.