Time and Tune

Alvida and the Magician's Cape

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Alvida and the Magician's Cape(from Time and Tune)
Time and Tune cover spring 1978.jpg
BBC Schools Radio
First run:
12th January

- 16th March 1978

(1 school year)
Episodes:10 episodes
Duration:20 minutes
Subject:Music: Music
Audience:Age 7-9
Language:In English
Browse programme details


This cantata, based on a Swedish folk tale, was the winning work in a national competition held by Time and Tune in 1977, calling for composers and authors to write an original work for children. Two concerts based on Alvida and the Magician's Cape were given at Fairfield Halls in Croydon on Friday 10th March 1978.

A wicked magician lives in a mountain-top castle, surrounded by wonderful garden. The magician captures children by persuading them to step on his gigantic cape, then makes them dance in the garden and work for him or risk being cast out into the forest.

When the magician tries to capture a young girl called Alvida his cape gets torn, and Alvida mends it for him with a strand of her own hair. The golden hair allows Alvida to escape from the magician's clutches, and also torments the magician whenever he is wicked.


All seven songs from this unit, with a short extract from each.

The Castle

High on a mountain, there is a castle
Standing so proudly against the sky...

In the Forest

In the forest, dark and lonely,
Wolves are prowling hungrily.

Wicked Magician, Fly

The wicked magician flies through the night,
With strong wings to take him far out of sight.

Sewing Song

What can I use but a thorn from the rose,
And a golden hair from my head?

Mysterious Light

What is this light, that shines in the darkness,
Filling the room with its dazzling ray?

Fruit Song

Fruit trees growing in your garden,
All around the window, what a fine display.

Go To Sleep, Alvida

Go to sleep, Alvida,
Rest contented, it's time to dream.


There were ten episodes of Alvida and the Magician's Cape, the last of which was a full performance of the cantata. They were broadcast on Thursdays at 11:00am on BBC Radio 4.

There was also a preview programme for teachers (not included in this site's episode count), broadcast just once on the second Monday of the term, at 11:40am. This included a performance of the music from the unit and teaching suggestions.

To the best of my knowledge, none of the episodes from this unit have been kept in the BBC archives.

# Title Broadcast
Preview programme 16 Jan 1978
1. Broadcast eleven 12 Jan 1978
2. Broadcast twelve 19 Jan 1978
3. Broadcast thirteen 26 Jan 1978
4. Broadcast fourteen 2 Feb 1978
5. Broadcast fifteen 9 Feb 1978
6. Broadcast sixteen 16 Feb 1978
7. Broadcast seventeen 23 Feb 1978
8. Broadcast eighteen 2 Mar 1978
9. Broadcast nineteen 9 Mar 1978
10. Broadcast twenty (concert) 16 Mar 1978


Pamphlet illustrated by Peter Richardson
Words and music by Michael Plaskett
Producer Douglas Coombes


The unit was accompanied by a 20-page pupil's pamphlet printed in two colours (priced 20p), containing the words and tunes for all of the songs, plus some rhythm games, and poems that children could try setting to their own music.

There was also a 20-page A4 set of teacher's notes (priced 34p) containing the running order for each episode, preparatory and follow-up suggestions, and the piano accompaniments for all of the songs.

Sources & References