Time and Tune: Alvida and the Magician's Cape

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started12th Jan 1978
ended16th Mar 1978
1 school year
duration20 mins
subject 🎶MusicMusic
age rangeAge 7-9
languageenIn English
Time and TuneHierarchyPrevious.gifPrevious unit: Flight Next unit: Scenes from The Wind in the Willows HierarchyNext.gif

Alvida and the Magician's Cape is a unit of the BBC schools radio series Time and Tune from the 1970s, covering Music for primary school pupils.

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.

SongThe Castle

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

SongIn the Forest

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

SongWicked Magician, Fly

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

SongSewing Song

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

SongMysterious Light

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

SongFruit Song

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

SongGo 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

  • BBC (1977) BBC Radio & Television Annual Programme for Schools and Colleges 1977-78. London: BBC. ISBN 0 563 16148 5. p.50
  • BBC (1978a) Time and Tune pupil's pamphlet, spring 1978. ISBN 0 563 30277 1
  • BBC (1978b) Time and Tune teacher's notes, spring 1978.
  • BBC Programme Catalogue online (no longer available)
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