The Little Prince
The Little Prince
Scored for: augmented Pierrot ensemble and narrator
Text: Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince
The Little Prince is based on the book by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry of the same title. This is a narrative piece using the text from the first chapter of the book, with the purpose of getting children interested in reading the rest of the book. The story and music explore the contrast between children and adults, being narrated from the perspective of an adult who hung on to their childlike way of thinking. The music is written for The Pickford Ensemble, a unique ensemble that resembles a Pierrot ensemble. A typical Pierrot ensemble consists of flute, clarinet, violin, cello and piano, while this ensemble also has a second violin, guitar, and percussion as well as four singers.
Once when I was six I saw a magnificent picture in a book about the jungle, called True Stories. It showed a boa constrictor swallowing a wild beast. Here is a copy of the picture. In the book it said: "Boa constrictors swallow their prey whole, without chewing. After that they are no longer able to move, and they sleep during the six months of their digestion." In those days I thought a lot about jungle adventures, and eventually managed to make my first drawing, using a colored pencil. My drawing number one looked like this. I showed the grown-ups my masterpiece, and I asked them if it scared them. They answered, “Why be scared of a hat?" My drawing was not a picture of a hat. It was a picture of a boa constrictor digesting an elephant. Then I drew the inside of the boa constrictor, so the grown-ups could understand. They always need explanations. My Drawing Number Two looked like this. The grown-ups advised me to put away my drawings of boa constrictors, outside or inside, and apply myself instead to geography, history, arithmetic, and grammar. That is why I abandoned, at the age of six, a magnificent career as an artist. I had been discouraged by the failure of my drawing Number One and of my drawing Number Two. Grown-ups never understand anything by themselves, and it is exhausting for children to have to provide explanations over and over again.
Premier: April 15, 2016. The Pickford Ensemble, Pepperdine University. Dr. N. Lincoln Hanks, conductor.
April 15, 2016. The Pickford Ensemble, Pepperdine University. Dr. N. Lincoln Hanks, conductor.