Roald Dahl’s Unexpected Concert Premiere Will Get Pulses Racing

This weekends City Of The Unexpected festival which commemorates the centenary of Roald Dahl’s birth in Llandaff in 1916 will be followed on next month with a special concert celebrating the life of the literary icon at St David’s Hall on October 21.

Concert of The Unexpected: a celebration of Roald Dahl will see Cardiff Philharmonic Orchestra open their season playing a concert of familiar music inspired by Dahl’s life and work as well as a premiere of a new piece written by Bernard Kane Jr entitled Mr Dahl, The piece will be narrated on the night by Hollywood A-Lister and Wales born actor Michael Sheen.  In true Dahl style however, the new piece of music still has an element of mystery to it as CPO conductor Michael Bell recently revealed to Andy Howells.

“Normally when we plan concerts years ahead, I know all the pieces,” says Michael, “This time, I really haven’t any idea of the music at all, except for the very first overture, which we managed to play at The Welsh Proms. As for the rest of the piece we haven’t any notion of it yet!!

The idea of premiering a completely new piece of music at an event celebrating a literary icon and featuring a Hollywood A-Lister would be enough to give many people sleepless nights, Michael agrees but he is also preparing to expect the unexpected. He says “Its very nerve racking, but its good to have a challenge and be out of your comfort zone a bit and its something to get the pulses racing! It’s a very exciting prospect really. Dahl is an iconic figure and a Welsh hero and we’re extremely lucky that Michael Sheen has fitted this in his busy schedule to come and perform this concert with us.”

Composer Bernard Kane Jr , who is noted for working with The Manic Street Preachers, Bryn Terfel and Sir Karl Jenkins, approached Michael Sheen to work on the project during a trip to Los Angeles. Sheen was delighted to get involved and will narrate Kane’s specially composed piece, Mr Dahl, live on the St David’s Hall stage.

“ We’ll see him the night before the concert and fit in his text around the music,” says Michael “he knows the basic concept of the piece. The script isn’t finished yet and neither is the music but that’ll all be ready by the time we start rehearsals.”

The concert will reflect what Michael describes “ a very colourful life and very colourful books”. The first half of the concert will feature Walton’s Spitfire, Prelude and Fugue outlining Dahl’s years as a WWII pilot while Grieg’s Peer Gynt Suite will illustrate Dahl’s Norwegian roots. For fans of Tim Burton’s film adaptation of Dahl’s book Charlie and the Chocolate Factory there will also be a chance to hear extracts of the movie soundtrack performed live.  The concert will then conclude with the specially composed music performed with Michael Sheen.

Like many of Roald Dahl’s stories the concert will have an appeal for all ages including children. “We love families to come along, and this is a great opportunity for children to hear their first concert and see Michael Sheen on stage,” says Michael, “It may be a case that parents will drag along their children saying you must come and hear this!. However they come along, we most certainly hope they do!”