Seven songs about monsters: ugly ones, sneaky ones, snobby ones, hungry ones and monsters that only exist on the inside. A Little Book of Monsters is by the celebrated team of Stephen Deazley (composer) and Matt Harvey (poet) and has been uniquely styled to appeal to young singers and to a family audience.
This songbook has been created for children aged 10-14 to be performed in large groups in one of two versions – with a professional ensemble or with a chamber orchestra. Love Music provides audio tracks of all the songs, lyric sheets, song sheets and vocal scores for teachers to use with their choirs, plus a professional development training session for all teachers and choir leaders involved in the project, and subsequent rehearsal sessions with Stephen Deazley in each school. On the performance day there is a final rehearsal with all the groups joining together to form one massed choir, alongside an ensemble of the highest quality professional musicians, followed by the performance. If you would like to perform A Little Book of Monsters with your school or choir, please get in touch.
The project is intended to inspire singing within schools and to support teachers in the delivery of exciting new opportunities and work for children. There are seven songs, and an eighth work for speaker, with a total performance duration of approximately 40 minutes. The recommended number of children involved in the project is between 120-180, although the piece can be performed with fewer participants. There are a number of complementary creative projects and cross-curricular activities that work very well alongside the performance project. Please get in touch for details.
This short film, made by the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, shows what the Edinburgh Primary Schools thought of their Monster experience.
A Little Book of Monsters has been performed across the UK in collaboration with national and regional partners, venues, ensembles, orchestras and schools. Most recently, Opera North’s chamber orchestra performed the piece with 200 children in Hull, Hexham, Wakefield, Huddersfield, Doncaster and Ripon in June 2017.
This piece was commissioned by St Magnus International Festival, Deal Festival of Music and Arts, Down Arts Centre, The Sage Gateshead, Scottish Chamber Orchestra and Welsh National Opera and was made possible with funding through Beyond Borders from the PRS for Music Foundation, Creative Scotland, Arts Council of Northern Ireland, Arts Council of Wales and Colwinston Trust.
Scostman Review ****
David Kettle, 11th Feb 2013
“These were imaginary fiends, conjured in listeners’ minds by poet Matt Harvey and composer Stephen Deazley in their highly effective choral song cycle A Little Book of Monsters, which formed the centre-piece of the Scottish Chamber Orchestra’s deliciously macabre family concert.
Deazley’s vivid, foot-tapping music ranged in style from Prokofiev to swing and funk, and the twisted tales that Harvey slipped into verse were gleefully dark. But it was the children’s choir who made the concert, brought together from nine local schools and impeccably drilled by their teachers and Deazley himself. Singing from memory and with ringing clarity, they could have taught many of their adult counterparts a thing or two as they merrily sang their stories of man-eating changing cubicles and cannibal creatures.
The SCO players, too, were on fine form… rising to Deazley’s intricate lines and wide-ranging styles with relish. The piece could probably have done with one or two fewer numbers, but the audience was nonetheless rapt throughout.”
…a pure delight from first to last, perfectly written for young voices – challenging enough to really stretch them, but exciting and funny enough to keep their attention throughout. The combination of the excellent (and pretty horrid) words with Stephen’s bitingly witty music brought the whole enterprise to life. For me the touchstone with a new work is how the orchestra take to a work – in this case Scottish Chamber Orchestra reacted with huge enthusiasm. I hope this work is one that will be taking up by many young choruses. ~ A Little Book of Monsters
The quality of the work, which is accessible whilst being highly educational, is of the highest calibre. As a concert piece it works tremendously well and its challenging music and lyrics allowed both Bath and Orkney children of all ages to feel a strong sense of engagement and achievement – it is perfectly judged. The feedback from the educational partners in both Bath and Orkney has been unanimously positive with requests for more from the same creators; an accolade which tells its own story. ~ A Little Book of Monsters
We think Stephen is wonderful!! His songbook is super, totally different and challenging… The kids loved his initial session and are very excited about learning the songs. So refreshing to have someone who can write great music as well as communicate it to young people! ~ A Little Book of Monsters
Elaine & her P5 classPapdale & Peedie Isles Schools
A Little Book of Monsters is visionary and vital. The songs are fabulous and so is the delivery of the whole project. At the Deal Festival, the reach and impact for this region was unique and powerful and Love Music Productions were exemplary and inspiring production partners. ~ A Little Book of Monsters
Matthew SharpDirector, Deal Festival of Music and the Arts
… a wonderful composition that the SCO were thrilled to perform to a packed Usher Hall of families and young people in February 2013. Young singers from local schools across Edinburgh loved and were challenged by the irreverent lyrics and melodies, and choir leaders and teachers found that they were able to take their choirs on to new levels of musicianship that they didn’t know they could achieve. This work formed a central role in SCO Connect’s work in 2012/13 as we reached up to 1,500 children across the capital in Monster-related music activity that explored the joy of learning, creating and performing music. ~ A Little Book of Monsters
Lucy FordeDirector, SCO Connect
…a great new work for children, quirky and catchy, not always straightforward but you will soon find yourself singing them. The wonderful imaginative and gruesome lyrics from Matt Harvey make for a truly entertaining and thought provoking performance. An invaluable new addition to the choral repertoire for young voices, it is fun, theatrical and appeals to a young persons’ love of all things grisly and gruesome and encourages real enjoyment in singing. ~ A Little Book of Monsters
Katherine ZesersonDirector of Learning and Participation, The Sage Gateshead