ACTIVITIES AND LISTENING LIST
for Issue 11—WINGS
1. MAKE paper butterflies. Use a square of colourful paper or cut up some junk mail. Make concertina folds—fold the top edge of the paper down towards yourself in a thin rectangle. (Don’t fold the paper in half, that fold is too big!). Flip the paper over so that the folded side is now face down on the table and at the bottom of the page. Fold the bottom of the page up, so that the previous fold lines up with it. Flip the paper over again so the folded pieces are now face down on the table and at the top of the paper. Fold the paper from the top again and continue folding and flipping until the whole page has been folded like a concertina. Then pinch the rectangle at the centre and twist a pipecleaner (chenille stick) around it to hold it tight. The two ends of the pipecleaner will be the antennae. Fan out the wings a little. And make twenty more! (Perhaps you could attach them all to a coathanger to make a mobile.)
2. FOLD painted butterfly pictures. On a blank piece of paper, dab some blobs of paint around the middle section of the paper. Fold the paper in half (with the paint on the inside) and gently press it flat so the paint inside squishes about a bit. Open the paper and inspect your butterfly painting! (Great for cards or use as wrapping paper or stick on the fridge!)
3. PAPER AEROPLANE RACES: Grab some friends and check out a paper-aeroplane website to learn how to fold your favourite paper aeroplanes and then have a competition to see whose design is fastest or flies furthest or looks the coolest. (Record your predictions about which one you think will fly furthest, and write down the distances each plane flies. Then you might even convince your parents or your teacher that paper aeroplane flying is educational!)
4. GET BAKING!: Make some butterfly cupcakes. Try this recipe for cakes with wings, or this recipe using marshmallows and sour worms might be more your style. If butterflies aren’t your thing, can you think of a way to adapt these recipes to turn them into bat cakes or owl cakes?
5. READ some wing-themed books! For upper primary kids, we like Cicada Summer by Kate Constable, Storm Boy by Colin Thiele, for lower to middle primary kids, try The Magic Finger by Roald Dahl, or Duck for a Day by Meg McKinlay and if you love picture books you could try The Truth About Penguins by Meg McKinlay & ill. Mark Jackson, The Story of Ping by Majorie Flack ill. Kurt Weise or the nonfiction picture book Australian Owls, Frogmouths and Nightjars by Jill Morris & Lynne Tracey. Or read ‘The Six Swans’ folktale in the current issue of Alphabet Soup (or the poems also in the current issue!). Can you think of any others?
MUSIC LISTENING LIST
Our listening list is compiled by Danielle Joynt, from Cantaris. Danielle has also included comments for some of these pieces. (Tip: Ask about CDs at your public library—libraries often have a good collection of CDs for loan if you prefer not to buy.)
1. FLIGHT OF THE BUMBLEBEE
“Flight Of The Bumblebee” is a piece written by the Russian composer Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov for his opera “The Tale Of Tsar Sultan”, composed in 1899-1900.
The piece is played at the end of Act Three, where the magic Swan-Bird changes the Tsar’s son into an insect so that he can fly away to visit his father (who does not know he is alive).
In 2010, the violinist Oliver Lewis broke the record for the fastest performance of “Flight Of The Bumblebee” – playing it in 1 minute and 3.356 seconds.
2. THE BUTTERFLY LOVERS VIOLIN CONCERTO
“The Butterfly Lovers” is a violin concerto co-written by Shanghai Conservatory of Music students Gang Chen and Zhanhao He in 1958.
It premiered to great acclaim in 1959, but was then declared decadent five years later during the Cultural Revolution – and both composers were imprisoned. Their “crime” was attempting to fuse Western instrumentation and tonalities with traditional Chinese melodies.
3. SWAN LAKE
The music for the ballet “Swan Lake” was written by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. The story is thought to be based on “The Stolen Veil” by the German author Johann Karl August Musäus and the Russian folktale “The White Duck” .
The premiere performance in 1877 was not a huge success.
The Russian ballerina Anna Sobeshchanskaya – for whom the role of Odette was originally intended – was removed from the performance, when a government official in Moscow complained about her, stating that she had accepted several pieces of expensive jewellery from him, and then married a fellow dancer – selling the jewellery for cash.
The dancers, decor and orchestra were all unanimously crtiicised, and Tchaikovsky’s music was considered too complicated for a ballet. His music was decried by critics as too noisy!
After Tchaikovsky’s death in 1893, the Italian composer Riccardo Drigo was granted permission by Tchaikovsky’s brother Modest to revise the music for the ballet’s revival.
It is Drigo’s revision of Tchaikovsky’s score of Swan Lake that is the most often performed and recognised today.
4. THE THREE RAVENS
A traditional English folk song printed in the song book “Melismata”, compiled and published by the English composer Thomas Ravenscroft in 1611. It is also known as “Twa Corbies” (“Two Ravens” or “Two Crows”) and most often sung to the Breton melody – “An Alarc’h” (“The Swan”).
The American scholar Francis James Child (appointed Harvard’s first ever Professor of English in 1876) included these versions in his monumental five volume collection of English and Scottish ballads – The Child Ballads – released between 1892 and 1898.
5. THE SWAN
“Le cygne” or “The Swan” is the thirteenth movement of “The Carnival Of The Animals” by Camille Saint-Saëns.
The famous piece features a solo cello.
This is the only movement from “The Carnival Of The Animals” that Saint-Saëns would allow to be played in public during his lifetime, as he thought the other movements were all too frivolous and would damage his reputation as a serious composer.
See the activities and the themed listening list for issue 10 (autumn 2011)
See the activities and the themed listening list for issue 9 (summer 2010).
See the activities and the themed listening list for issue 8 (spring 2010).