• Rob Kapilow
  • Chris van Allsburg’s Polar Express (1997)

  • G Schirmer Inc (World)
  • 2(pic).2.2.2/2230/2[+]perc/hp.pf(cel)/str
  • 2(pic).0.2.1/2100/perc/pf/4vn.va.2vc.db
  • Children's Chorus
  • Baritone
  • 22 min
  • Chris van Allsburg

Programme Note

Coordinated projections of the iconic images from the original book are now available for live performance with this piece.

Dazzle children and their families with larger than life illustrations of the Express, Santa Claus and his reindeer, and the endearing Billy who learns the spirit of Christmas through a series of snowy adventures to the North Pole.

Composer note
The idea behind the concert is that holidays survive because they get reinvented, not replicated. We decided to create a concert that does that too. The program will begin with an interaction, where I ask kids, "What has your family added to traditional holiday activities that make them your own." Then we show how John Harbison takes one of the most traditional songs in the world, "The Twelve Days of Christmas," and reinvents it as a virtuoso brass quintet. Chris Van Allsburg has likewise taken all the basic elements of Christmas — Santa Claus, presents, etc. — and invented a completely new story, making those elements come alive in a completely, new way. I in turn have taken that story and made IT come alive in a new way. Constantly flitting through the composition are familiar strains of fragments of beloved Christmas music: "Deck the Halls," "Joy to the World," and "The First Noel" — all reinvented as part of the fabric of a new Christmas tradition. To close the program we will also teach the audience a new carol to send them on their way with a final new tradition.

— Robert Kapilow

The Polar Express, Chris Van Allsburg’s best-selling Christmas classic, tells the story of a boy who boards a mysterious train bound for the North Pole.




More Info