My Toy Symphony was written for one of the annual Christmas concerts of the Huntingdonshire Philharmonic, of which I was then the musical director. It is scored for a huge variety of toy instruments, from whistles to drums and nightingale and cuckoo to car hooter and chime bars, and this disparate ensemble is backed by a small instrumental group of strings, piano, flute and clarinet. The two outer movements are energetic and frame a more gentle and lilting central movement that has something of the character of a barcarolle. At the end of the whole piece is a surprise involving paper bags and the whole audience …. Since that first performance in 1986 the piece has enjoyed some memorable performances elsewhere, including one at the Royal Academy of Music in London when most of the senior administrative, as well as musical staff, were persuaded to let their hair down and show off less familiar musical skills. I hope other audiences will be equally entertained.
© Christopher Brown 2011