Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Venetian Carnevale at Musicalia (part 2)

publisher:  Dial Books
Many years ago I purchased this book.  The illustrations are so beautiful and story is magical.  Even after more than 20 years of reading this book, whenever I take it off my shelf, I spend way too much time gazing at the pictures...they are just so lovely.

Check out the Amazon link...sorry that as I write this post, this book does not seem to be available!  

This book was my original inspiration for creating the Venetian Carnevale theme at Musicalia.  For many years I would think...I'd love to have a party where we could pretend we were in Venice...and for some reason I just never got to it.

Nigel & Susan walking up the aisle!
Then 3 years ago, I married my husband and one of the wedding gifts I received from a dear friend was her cello.  She just showed up with it one day and said, "Congratulations!  This is your wedding gift." 
Of course, when small children play the cello it might as well be a stand-up bass!

She said she knew I would share this cello with all the children at Musicalia.  She felt it would be better for the cello than just sitting in her livingroom.  Isn't that amazing?  So, now we have a cello and we all play it all the time!

Once the cello moved in to the studio I was immediately inspired to begin planning for our first Venetian Carnevale, which we held in May 2009.

It was such a hit the first time around, that I used this book this year as well when introducing the concept of carnevale.

We learn about the beauty of Venice, the canals, the idea that a real person crafts a violin or cello, as well as the masks and costuming of carnavale. 

As it is unlikely you will be able to find a copy for yourself, I've written a synopsis of the story.

A synopsis of The Voice of the Wood  
Written by Claude Clement.  Paintings by Frederic Clement.
This tale takes place in Venice and revolves around an instrument-maker and a musician.  

The craftsman lovingly creates handmade violins and cellos in his home workshop overlooking the canals of Venice.  Behind his house is a peaceful little garden and a great old tree.  The instrument-maker loved the tree where he would spend hours listening to a symphony of birds singing, leaves swaying and boats gliding by.  He felt nothing could compare to its beautiful music.

One winter the tree dies and sadly, the instrument-maker chops it down and stores the lumber.  Many years later he comes across the stored lumber in his workshop.  He decides to create a masterpiece.  He builds a cello in tune with the music of nature.  Finished on the day of the Grande Carneval, the master craftsman looks for a musician worthy and skilled enough to make his magical cello sing.

A famous musician is in the masked crowd outside his workshop.  The musician arrogantly enters the workshop and reaches for the cello even as the craftsman warns him that only the most gifted fingers and heart in tune with nature can play it.

The famous musician is frustrated that the only sounds coming out of this cello are grating and brutal.  The crowd of onlookers leaves in disgust.  The musician tears off his wig, mask and costume in humiliation.   He spends the entire night playing as he has never played before.  

In the morning the old craftsman awakes to the most beautiful, magical music he has ever heard.  The  musician is palying as one with the cello and from the neck of the cello a young tree has magically begun to sprout leafy branches.  A flock of songbirds has landed and adds their voice to the voice of the wood.


  1. Thank for the interesting post.

  2. Hi Innesa,
    You're welcome! Thank you for visiting:)
    I see that you are a piano teacher...I am too!


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