For Narrator and Chamber Orchestra
Night Walk is a new work for narrator and small orchestra by composer Roman Benedict and children’s author and comedian Rosie Fletcher. It follows the adventures of Anna who, unable to sleep on a stormy night, slips out of her window to explore the city. Out on its rainy streets she discovers the denizens and characters of the city at night, and discovers the busyness and life of the city, as well as the pockets of calm and beauty. The story culminates in a moment of joy and celebration, before a madcap dash through the thunderstorm back to home and the welcoming embrace of bed.
Full of atmosphere and character, it introduces children to the instruments of the orchestra, taking the form of Peter and the Wolf and updating it so that it feels contemporary and relevant to the children of today. It is urban, modern, and filled with a sense of excitement at the world around It is accessible to children and families, and can be delivered by any narrator. It can be performed with an introduction to each character and instrument, or presented stand-alone. The orchestra takes you through the world of Anna as she explores the life of the city at night.
Roman Benedict is a composer and arranger based in London. Winner of the ANZVS composition prize and the Willoughby Symphony AMCOZ award, his arrangements have been played by major orchestras around the world, including the Hallé, Sydney Symphony, and Britten Sinfonia.
Rosie Fletcher is a writer, broadcaster and occasional stand-up comedian. A regular voice on BBC Radio 4, her series Rosemary vs Mankind was heard on The Film Programme throughout 2018. She is half of the long-running podcast Rosie and Jessica’s Day of Fun and has written several episodes of the award-winning podcast sitcom Wooden Overcoats. Rosie is currently writing a children’s book.
- Flute, Oboe(doubling Cor Anglais), Clarinet(doubling Bass Clarinet), Bassoon
- 2 Horns, Trumpet in B♭(doubling Flugelhorn), 2 Trombones
Timpani, 1 Percussion (Tubular Bells, Vibraphone, Kick drum, Sandpaper block, Low Tom, Tam-tam, Cymbals, Bass drum, Triangle)
Duration: 20 mins (including 3 minutes of introductions)
Suggested age: 8-16
Suggested narrator: if possible, this piece would work best with a female narrator, but nothing is compulsory. Some ability to follow music is helpful, but not necessary.
No amplification or electronics required although the narrator may benefit from some amplification if it is available or the strings or hall are large.
This piece would pair well with Mother Goose Suite, Peter and The Wolf, Young Persons Guide to The Orchestra, and other similar works for children.
In a broader context, it would work well when programmed with Copland, Pärt, Sibelius or Ravel.
By Rosie Fletcher
It was night time.
It was raining.
It was night time and it was raining and Anna could not sleep.
Every time she was about to fall asleep her eyes snapped open and she was wide awake again.
She could hear the sounds of the city and the rain and the world outside her walls, so she slipped into her coat and her shoes and out of her window and into the night.
It was very dark outside but the sky was sprinkled with stars like the ground was sprinkled with rain. Anna tipped back her head and let the rain fall right into her mouth. It tasted like night time.
With her head tilted back, Anna was staring right up at the big round moon and she whispered “Hello moon” and although she could not prove it, she was pretty sure the moon said hello back.
So Anna and the Moon went for a walk in the city.
The streets were very quiet, just Anna and the Moon and the stars and the rain.
Anna turned a corner and suddenly, in the dim light of a streetlamp, there were two green eyes staring out at her. It was a fox. The Fox was wearing a smart red coat and little white bobby socks and eating leftover chips from a paper bag.
“Would you like to come for a walk?” asked Anna. The Fox did not reply but it probably did want to, thank you very much.
The streetlamp could not come for a walk because it was at work.
So Anna and the Moon the stars and the rain and the Fox went on their walk.
And the rain was getting stronger.
They came to a little row of shops, which were all shut but a few of their signs and lights were still flickering away in the dark. Anna and the Fox stopped and watched as a lorry pulled up. A man in a bright orange vest jumped off the back off the lorry. He was big and stocky and his face was as bright as his vest.
He peered down at Anna. “Shouldn’t you be at home in bed?” he asked. The Fox narrowed his eyes at the man. He huffed and turned and hoisted a huge metal bin from outside one of the shops onto his back and emptied it into the lorry and drove away.
Anna ignored him and went on with her walk. She ran her fingers through the wet leaves of a hedge. The raindrops splashed down onto the Fox who shook his nose and sneezed. He and Anna both pulled their coats closer around them. The Moon kept shining.
They came to an overpass, a street across the sky. Beneath them thundered trains and traffic and little lives in metal boxes. Anna and the Fox scuttled across the overpass, the world rushing beneath them, the sky rolling above them. The Moon hid behind a cloud because it was quite scary.
From the middle of the overpass, Anna could see a new part of the city. Beyond the road and the railway was a queue of plain concrete buildings. Noise thudded out of basements and doorways. There were crowds of people but no one looked up and saw Anna and the For or the Moon or even the rain. A car pulled up by the queue of buildings and people and out got a Girl with Golden Shoes. She was wearing a dress that sparkled like all the stars in the sky and had bright white hair like the moon. She was humming to herself and tapping her feet. She didn’t seem to mind the rain at all, even when she dropped her keys and had to scoop them up out of a puddle.
The Fox did not much care for parties he had not been invited to and the rain was getting heavier so they walked on.
The square with the fountain was empty, apart from the Moon and the Stars and the Rain, who had got there before Anna and the Fox did. The Fox weaved around Anna’s feet a few times. He was dancing and Anna danced with him. The Stars danced with each other and the Rain danced with everyone.
But the Moon had nobody to dance with. His usual partner wouldn’t be awake until sunrise.
And Anna felt sad for the Moon because he had walked all this way and couldn’t join in. She sat down next to the Fountain. Anna looked down into the Fountain, the water rippled by the rain.
And she saw a second moon.
There in the water was another moon, beaming up at the one in the sky. So Anna danced with the Fox and the Stars danced with each other and the Rain danced with everyone and the Moon did not dance alone.
Then Thunder came to dance and brought lightning with it and the party was over.
The rain was suddenly pounding down and Anna turned and ran, out of the square and past the where the Girl with Golden Shoes had got out of a car, the rain crashing down around her, the Fox jumping around the raindrops and the Moon gliding silently above. Back over the overpass they went, the wind blowing around Anna’s shoes and the Fox’s socks, and back past the hedge and the shops and the street and suddenly the bin lorry was there, driving away through a puddle, splashing Anna and the Fox, although not the Moon which was far enough away from the puddle to stay dry. The lights of the lorry and shops were joined by a great fork of lightning across the sky and another bang of thunder and Anna was running, running along her street and back to her house.
And Anna said goodbye to the Fox and goodnight to the Moon and slipped back through her window and out of her shoes and coat and into bed and…
Another roll of thunder.
And Anna was fast asleep.