MUSIC / Notices: Composers Ensemble - Purcell Room, London

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The Raid, poems and soundscapes by the children of Southwark's Lyndhurst Primary School on the subject of Vikings, began life in classroom excursions to retrieve some borrowed glue. But the idea took off when the Composers Ensemble dropped by this autumn to mould their work into a lively song-cycle. It was presented at the Purcell Room last Wednesday alongside the latest additions to Mary Wiegold's burgeoning Songbook - genial contributions from Robin Holloway, Martin Butler, Elvis Costello and Robert Saxton pouring oil on sterner essays from Birtwistle, Muldowney and Woolrich. The young audience was spellbound - testimony to this mini-genre's considerable power and attraction. These bite-sized musical portraits, strong on message and atmosphere, have drawn some compelling music from a diversity of composers, the Ensemble's way of presenting them as a string of miniatures often creating a dramatic energy of its own. With another 50 songs due in 1993, there look like being more thrills to come.