I first heard this recording on BBC Radio 3's wonderfully eclectic Late Junction one night and was spooked by it.
It dates from 1958, when the children of The Italia Conti Academy of Theatre Arts were not trained for parts in EastEnders. As a result, the pagan notes here sound much scarier. I wouldn't put it past these sweet little children to burn us all in a wicker man.
On Sinfini Music Jonny Trunk tells how he rediscovered and republished Orff's music for children. He then says:
To me this music is very beautiful and also evocative of a fascinating time in British education; one of sour milk, ink-wells and joined-up handwriting for six-year-olds. The sound is simple but powerful, charming and strangely evil especially when the children from the Italia Conte School start chanting the names of trees and flowers like characters from The Midwich Cuckoos.
So I decide to reissue the recordings, on CD with an edited LP version. I see this as not just a way of sparking more interest in this strange and forgotten corner of Orff’s work, I also hope that one or two of the recordings find their way into modern classrooms where teachers and children alike may be intrigued once more.Trees and Flowers is billed as a speech exercise, but most of Music for Children consists of instrumental pieces - you can listen to much more of it on the Trunk Records site. As well as the Midwich Cuckoos factor, it has a lot in common with Benjamin Britten's music for children from the same era.
The picture that accompanies the video shows the composer and, er, somebody's belly button.
Later. The belly button video has disappeared, but I have found another one.