All About Paddington Bear

Here’s the official Paddington website with news about the upcoming movie, Paddington’s creator Michael Bond, and Paddington’s Adventure diary. I didn’t know until researching this topic, that Paddington Bear was an exotic species of bear from Darkest Peru. I guess I’d better see the movie when it comes out in January 2015 to learn more.

On that official website, I was intrigued by the different illustrators’ versions of Paddington.

Paddington Bear’s First Concert is a story by Michael Bond, the creator of Paddington Bear, and composer Herbert Chappell. Herbert Chappell wrote about it in this program note (from Music Sales Classical website):

Herbert Chappell Paddington Bear’s First Concert (1984)

In the autumn of 1974 Michael Bond, the author of the Paddington Bear stories, asked me to write a tune for a short cartoon-film. This I was delighted to do, for I had long been a devoted admirer of Paddington. The film turned out well and so we sat down and wrote a stage musical about the famous bear, completing it in time for Christmas. The musical was first performed in London at the Duke of York’s Theatre and has since become very popular. Similarly, over the years, the original five-minute cartoon film has led to some six dozen others, plus several television ‘specials’. It was therefore inevitable that sooner or later Paddington would invade the world of classical music, so we wrote PADDINGTON IN CONCERT for story-teller and orchestra. For those interested in such matters, all the musical material grows out of the first two bars of the Paddington theme – a step-wise climb of a fourth followed by a drop of a seventh.

I conducted the Premiere with the London Concert Orchestra on 3 January 1986 at the Barbican – or Bearbican as the building became known thereafter; ‘Teddy Bears Concerts’ where thousands of children bring their furry friends, have become immensely popular.

Any moment now we shall no doubt write a Paddington son-et-lumière and a Paddington underwater ballet. Meanwhile, I have made a piano transcription for occasions when you have no symphony orchestra handy.

Herbert Chappell

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