Violin and Cello
EK Books, 2022
32pp., hbk., RRP $A24.99
While a high brick wall might separate the balconies of the two apartments and prevent the players from seeing each other, it doesn’t stop the music. One played a violin and the other a cello, and while each practised alone and at their own pace, both lonely, the music mingled. And then the violinist had an idea and sent a secret message to the cello player.
Cello from a backpack.
Violin from a case
Each musician still played at their own pace.
It was tricky.
It took some time.
Then music flew from the violin and from the cello, too.
And then the cellist made a paper plane and sent her own secret message to her new friend. And together they played music from their balconies and connected many more than themselves.
Learning and playing music can be a solitary activity, bringing pleasure to the music-maker but even greater isolation than has been enforced over recent times. With between 45% of children (Australia) and 70% of children (UK) currently playing a musical instrument and even more (as many as 9 out of 10) wanting to learn -most beginning their classical music education with piano, violin or cello lessons- this is a story that will resonate with many young readers and show them that music is indeed a universal language and can indeed “act like a magic key, to which the most tightly closed heart opens” as Maria Von Trapp declared in The Sound of Music.
The score for the allegro and adagio movements of “The Mystery Friends”, the music which brings the children together, is an original duet for violin and cello composed for the book by Australian composer, Alexander Lau, are printed in the book as well as being available via the links in this review. Thorough teachers’ notes are also available so that even the most non-musical person like me can bring this book to life well beyond the words and pictures on the page.