Hansel & Gretel

Music at King Edward's School, Birmingham: composition project

A famous story, originally told by the German writers, the Brothers Grimm.


Hansel and Gretel’s parents are desperately poor. The children make brooms for their parents to sell. But Hansel and Gretel are easily distracted from their chores … One day, because of this, their mother gets angry. She sends them deep into the woods to fetch berries. When their father comes home he is worried as the children are not there. He has heard of a Nibble Witch who lives in the forest. Mother and Father rush off to search for them.

Hansel and Gretel are meanwhile lost in the forest. The sandman sings them to sleep and they dream of angels. 

In the morning, they see a house of gingerbread, covered in sweets. They are so hungry that they start to eat pieces of it. But the house belongs to the Nibble Witch! At first the Witch is sweet and charming, but soon Hansel is in a cage, and Gretel is told to light the stove. Gretel pretends she doesn’t understand how to do this, and the Witch leans into the oven to show her. Hansel and Gretel push her in, and she is baked into a gingerbread!

The story ends with gingerbread children coming to life and Hansel and Gretel’s mother and father finding them at last.


Is by a German composer called Engelbert Humperdinck.

This is the overture, which sounds but charming and slightly scary, representing the children’s games and the dangerous forest.


This is Witch’s Ride, describing the Nibble witch on her broomstick.

 When the sandman appears, the children fall asleep, they sing an Evening prayer: