SIR PETER MAXWELL DAVIES

A Selkie Tale

Music theatre work for young performers

1992

25 minutes

opus

154

The two themes of community participation and creativity of children were again underlined that evening in the first main musical event of the festival, which featured two music-theatre works – Peter Maxwell Davies’s Selkie Tale, a new musical entertainment written with the inimitably sharp wit and acuity which is a special reserve of Davies’s when writing for children, and performed with great panache by the kids of Holm primary school (Orkney)

The Herald

Dedication

Commissioned by

 

 

 

Scoring

Cast

Mansie, captain of the fishing boat
Selkie wife
Miss Trowie-Tattibogle,
Mansie’s cousin
Minister
Mansie’s crew
Selkies
Mansie’s bairns
Waves/Wedding guests

Instruments<The piece is scored for a small band of classroom and orchestral instruments, with the full score laid out as follows:
woodwind
percussion (tuned and untuned )trumpet
violin
piano

bass instrument

There are three woodwind parts which may be played by flutes, clarinets, recorders, or a mixture of these instruments. In the first performance the woodwind consisted of one flute and two clarinets. If you use three recorders, the parts should be allocated as follows
descant (+ treble)
treble (+ tenor)
tenor

Sections

1. At Sea
2. Inside Mansie’s But and Ben
3. On the Shore



Synopsis

Composer Notes

Programme Notes

‘A Selkie Tale’ is a short music-theatre work (duration about 25 minutes) designed for performance by seven to eleven year olds. Four solo roles and several separate chorus groups give scope for the participation of a large number of children of all ability levels.

The story is a humorous version of the Orkney folktale of an islander kidnapping a Selkie wife – a creature who is a seal in the sea and a woman on the land. Things go hilariously wrong, with the Selkie wife escaping to rejoin her companions in the sea, and Mansie, the islander, facing a most uncongenial alliance with his cousin and housekeeper, Miss Trowie-Tattibogle.

 

The two themes of community participation and creativity of children were again underlined that evening in the first main musical event of the festival, which featured two music-theatre works – Peter Maxwell Davies’s Selkie Tale, a new musical entertainment written with the inimitably sharp wit and acuity which is a special reserve of Davies’s when writing for children, and performed with great panache by the kids of Holm primary school (Orkney)

The Herald

First Performance

Orkney Arts Theatre, Kirkwall, Orkney (as part of the St. Magnus Festival)

Friday, 19 June 1992

Pupils of Holm Primary School, Orkney