The Project

Education is central to the festival programme and for 2013, we have a series of events to engage local primary and secondary schools including workshops and concerts based around Stravinsky's The Soldier's Tale; a series of masterclasses with leading musicians from the festival and a family concert of popular classics.

After the great success of Peter and the Wolf and The Carnival of the Animals in 2011 and 2012, the internationally acclaimed ensemble Chamber Domaine will give three performances of Stravinsky's iconic The Soldier's Tale at St. Mary's Church, West Malling. The performances will include choreography by leading British dancer, James Streeter in collaboration with English National Ballet. The performances will be narrated by Matthew Sharp, recently acclaimed by The Daily Telegraph for his "astonishingly comprehensive versatility." The concerts will be open to students and parents and will be the culmination of a series of workshops held in local primary and secondary schools. The concerts will be one hour long. The workshops are targeted for two age groups.

For primary schools, the performances at 10am and 2pm on 26th September and the education project are designed to fit the learning objectives for Key Stage II. There will be movement workshops using the music from The Soldier's Tale which will be led by the English National Ballet. The music workshops will involve students singing, playing and composing music inspired by the themes from the Stravinsky, with help from members of Chamber Domaine. There will be a teacher’s pack lots of ideas and activities based around the theme and each student will be given a worksheet in the workshops to complete. The pieces devised in the workshops will be used in the concerts and woven into a story by the narrator and will be performed alongside The Soldier's Tale. The education workshops will run prior to the festival.

The concert will cover the following areas of study for Key Stage II::

  1. Telling a story – using expressive language and developing musical ideas to express feelings/moods/characters.
  2. Developing rhythmic and melodic material through improvisation
  3. Using different musical instruments and their contrasting and complementary characters.
  4. Learning about and seeing different musical instruments at close hand and having access to outstanding professional musicians.
  5. Composition – Creating popular and memorable themes that can be used and developed to tell a story using tuned and untuned instruments.
  6. To hear and see live classical music and dance, promoting engagement and understanding of the sounds, textures, atmospheres that are unique to live performance.
  7. Download Learning Pack for Key Stage II

For secondary schools, the performance of The Soldier's Tale at 11.30am on the 26th September and the education project are designed to fit the learning objectives for Key Stage III and to support composition at GCSE and A Level. The music workshops will involve composition through working with the instrumentalists of Chamber Domaine using improvisation to explore and develop musical ideas that come from the Stravinsky to create compositions that can be performed with the students. These works will be performed interleaved with the movements from The Soldier's Tale. Activities that develop these ideas and give background to The Soldier's Tale will be available in teacher's packs. All compositions and performances will be recorded for course work.

The concerts and workshops will cover the following areas of study for Key Stage III

  1. Participating in performing - rehearsing and developing ideas in groups with professional musicians.
  2. Exploring and extending musical ideas in different styles with inspiration from the wide range of musical types in the Stravinsky
  3. Exploring The Soldier's Tale as a dramatic piece and understanding how different emotions and atmospheres are underpinned by the music
  4. How music relates to movement
  5. Identifying musical elements, devices, tonalities and structures.
  6. Download Learning Pack for Key Stage III


Soundhub is a new organisation created to co-ordinate and commission music education programmes in Kent. By the end of this round of funding in March 2015 Soundhub, working closely with schools and other partners, must make a significant difference to music education in Kent. Soundhub will work in partnership with a number of organisations in Kent and further afield to deliver a wide ranging programme in- and out-of-school, designed to give children and young people the opportunity to sing, to learn to play musical instruments and progress with their music making.

Soundhub is one of 122 Music Education Hubs funded by Arts Council England charged with delivering four core roles:

Core Role 1

  1. Ensure that every child aged five to 18 has the opportunity to learn a musical instrument (other than voice) through whole-class ensemble teaching programmes for ideally a year (but for a minimum of a term) of weekly tuition on the same instrument.

Core Role 2

  1. Provide opportunities to play in ensembles and to perform from an early stage.

Core Role 3

  1. Ensure that clear progression routes are available and affordable to all young people.

Core Role 4

  1. Develop a singing strategy to ensure that every pupil is singing regularly and that choirs and other vocal ensembles are available in the area.


Stravinsky conducting a recording session of the work

A modern choreography of The Soldier's Tale

An excerpt from R O Beckman's 1983 animated version


Stravinsky is an iconic figure of the 20th century. His compositions have had a huge impact on our culture and were revolutionary as well as revelatory. His collaboration with Sergei Diaghilev and the Ballet Russes with works such as The Firebird (1910) Petrushka (1911) and The Rite of Spring (1913) blazing a trail across Europe and beyond opened up a whole new world of expressive possibilities. The Soldier's Tale was written in 1918 at the end of the First World War and is based on a Russian folk tale about a runaway soldier and the devil.

The scoring reflects a change from the large forces employed in the works he composed prior to The Great War: a chastened and economical use of seven instruments. The concept was to create a theatrical work that could be "read, played and danced." There are references to popular dance music - Tango, Waltz and Ragtime form the Three Dances, which are often choreographed. In the Music@Malling performances these will be choreographed by one of Britain's leading dancers, James Streeter who is a principal with English National Ballet.

The music particularly promotes the violin, which is central to the story. The Story is a parable of a soldier called Joseph who trades his violin with the devil in return for unlimited wealth. Joseph is on his way home on leave. He rests by a stream and the devil disguised as an old man carrying a butterfly net, sneaks up on him whilst he is playing his instrument.

The devil tries to get Joseph to sell his violin but when he refuses, offers him a book that offers material riches as it can predict the future. Joseph accepts and in exchange for teaching the devil the violin is taught how to use the book to his advantage.

There is a draw back however. After three days of teaching the devil to play and learning about the book, Joseph walks into his hometown and everyone runs away thinking he is a ghost. He realises three years not three days have passed.

Joseph amasses great wealth by using the book to predict the future. He soon realises that material wealth does not make him happy and he longs for his life as before - poor but happy.

Joseph rejects the book tearing it up and hurls his violin away.

Later, he marches past his hometown and arrives at an inn where he hears that the King's daughter is sick and whoever can cure her will win her hand in marriage.

Arriving at the palace, the devil is already there disguised as a virtuoso violinist. The devil challenges Joseph to a game of cards to gain back his money - if Joseph loses he will be free from the devil.

Joseph manages to do this and plays the Three Dances which miraculously cure the Princess. The devil arrives undisguised and Joseph plays a dance that forces the devil to dance in a way which exhausts him: he seems a spent force. The soldier has won over the devil and has fallen in love with the Princess.

There is a moral to the story which reads:

You must not seek to add
To what you have, what you once had:
You have no right to share
What you are with what you were.

No one can have it all,
That is forbidden.
You must learn to choose between.

One happy thing is every happy thing:
Two, is as if they had never been.

Eventually, the soldier wants his past back as much as the present. The devil reclaims him and the work ends with the triumphal march of the devil - a duel between the violin and percussion.

The work was first performed in Lausanne, Switzerland, 28th September 1918.

Diaghilev and the Ballet Russes gave the work full staging in a production in Paris 1924.

English National Ballet

English National Ballet embraces a holistic approach to public engagement that interfaces artistic, creative learning and outreach, marketing and development activities that strengthen our cultural offer. English National Ballet’s forward-thinking Be Engaged programme promotes engagement, access and participation, crossing all sectors of the local community. High quality, inspirational dance interventions take place in theatres, schools, galleries, parks, community centres and unusual spaces throughout the country.

English National ballet are the Big Dance Hub for west London which incorporates nine Local Authorities. Their extensive learning, engagement and participation programmes reach approximately 48,000 people per year. They have a proven track record of producing flagship composition and choreographic performance projects and collaborative pop-ups in unusual spaces.

Their Schools Link programme brings the experience of ballet into schools and young people into theatres and their youth dance company ENBYouthCo develops the potential of young dancers giving them an insight into life as a professional dancer. They work extensively with older people through our Dance for Health and Arts for Older People provision and are a leader for Dance for Parkinson’s in the UK, exemplifying good practice and ground-breaking research.

Programme aims:

  1. Promote public engagement with dance
  2. Widen opportunity for all and develop the potential of each individual
  3. Create meaningful experiences / journeys
  4. Raise aspirations and develop imagination
  5. Facilitate skills and knowledge exchange
  6. Nurture emerging artists
  7. Contribute to the dance sector