Barbar The Elephant

About Our Beloved Barbar

L' Histoire de Babar (orch Blomhert) (1940)

Work Notes

Bastiaan Blomhert

Text Writer

Jean de Brunhoff


Chester Music Ltd


Soloist(s) and Large Ensemble (7 or more players)

Year Composed



Bastiaan Blomhert


22 Minutes


English, French, German




Programme Note

Francis Poulenc L' Histoire de Babar (orch Blomhert) (1940)

Poulenc completed his STORY OF BABAR, THE LITTLE ELEPHANT for narrator and piano in 1945. The music was composed after the famous French children's book written and illustrated by Jean de Brunhoff in 1930. Jean de Brunhoff's son, Laurent, added many more Babar stories and created over the years a vast number of cartoons that are appearing daily on TV. Today, Babar is as a result a favourite character of millions of children (and grown-ups). 

The delightful music by Poulenc was orchestrated by Jean Françaix in 1963 and found its way to many larger concert halls. 

In 1985 Bastiaan Blomhert, the Dutch wind ensemble specialist, created his version for 12 winds. This arrangement was authorised by the Poulenc Estate in Paris and is now available on hire for performance in a more intimate atmosphere, as well as for recording and broadcast. 

The configuration of the ensemble is 2 flutes (both doubling piccolo), 2 oboes (2nd doubling cor anglais), 2 clarinets (end doubling bass clarinet), 2 bassoons (2nd doubling double-bassoon),2 French horns, trumpet and tuba. Performing time is 27 minutes (including narration). 

THE STORY OF BABAR, THE LITTLE ELEPHANT, provides a marvellous opportunity for wind ensembles to reach a wide audience and to invite leading personalities of today to participate as the narrator..