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Rob Kapilow

Publisher: G. Schirmer

Chris van Allsburg’s Polar Express (1997)
Publisher
G Schirmer Inc
Category
Chorus and Orchestra/Ensemble
Year Composed
1997
Duration
22 Minutes
Chorus
Children's Chorus
Soloist
Baritone
Alternate Orchestration
2(pic).0.2.1/2100/perc/pf/4vn.va.2vc.db


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Programme Note
Rob Kapilow Chris van Allsburg’s Polar Express (1997)
Composer Note:

The idea behind the concert is that holidays survive because they get reinvented, not replicated. We decided to create a concert that does that too. The program will begin with an interaction, where I ask kids, "What has your family added to traditional holiday activities that make them your own." Then we show how John Harbison takes one of the most traditional songs in the world, "The Twelve Days of Christmas," and reinvents it as a virtuoso brass quintet. Chris Van Allsburg has likewise taken all the basic elements of Christmas - Santa Claus, presents, etc. - and invented a completely new story, making those elements come alive in a completely, new way. I in turn have taken that story and made IT come alive in a new way. Constantly flitting through the composition are familiar strains of fragments of beloved Christmas music: "Deck the Halls," "Joy to the World," and "The First Noel" - all reinvented as part of the fabric of a new Christmas tradition. To close the program we will also teach the audience a new carol to send them on their way with a final new tradition.

— Robert Kapilow



Synopsis:
The Polar Express, Chris Van Allsburg’s best-selling Christmas classic, tells the story of a boy who boards a mysterious train bound for the North Pole. Kapilow explains, ‘Chris Van Allsburg has taken all the basic elements of Christmas and invented a completely new story, making those elements come alive in a new way. Throughout the composition are familiar strains of beloved Christmas music: Deck the Halls, Joy to the World and The First Noel — all reinvented as part of the fabric of a new Christmas tradition.’



Performances
Date
Title
Reviews
Robert Kapilow brought his living, breathing version of the sweet fable THE POLAR EXPRESS to the Cerritos Center with the Los Angeles Children's Chorus and the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra adding musical magic to the already wonderful story. The story is told in operatic fashion, and much is left to the imagination but in this sound bite, game boy, interactive video, animation everything world, this POLAR EXPRESS is shown the dignity it deserves in this format. Michael Sokol narrated the story with an urgency and drama that made the audience sit in rapt attention for the marvelous story. Christmas comes faster and faster each year, but this is a show that could become as traditional as THE NUTCRACKER in the holiday season.
Glen Greason, Los Cerritos Community News,1/1/0001
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