The rock star Elvis Costello is collaborating with Britain's most successful chamber orchestra, the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields, on an orchestral work for children which will indeed be played in a field.
In a unique venture, the work will form part of a concert to be played to 2,500 children in a field in Thames Chase Forest near Brentwood, Essex.
Every child at the concert will then plant a tree in a dedicated copse as part of an environmental scheme to replenish what has been termed a community forest.
The concert is the culmination of an extensive education project in Essex working with local schools. Part of that project has included learning about community forests - a rich mosaic of wood and farms, woodland and leisure enterprises, nature areas and public open space forming a landscape for wildlife, employment, education and recreation on the edge of towns and cities.
Costello has scored an orchestral version of Tom Thumb, which will be conducted by Sir Neville Marriner and performed in a clearing in the forest next week.
It is the first work Costello has composed for a full chamber orchestra. The script, written by John Cleese, will be narrated by children's television presenter, Zoe Ball.
A spokeswoman for the academy said the orchestra was particularly keen to work with a contemporary composer to bring classical music to children.
Giving the first details of the project yesterday, Costello told The Independent his piece would be followed by "Green Man Ho," a poem by the late William Anderson with music by composer Paul Pritchard.
Costello said: "This is the first time in my career I've ever been the opening [support] act for anybody, apart from Bob Dylan. But this is a special project." He added: "It's not really like anything else I've ever written. It's the first thing I've written for kids."
One of his models is Peter and the Wolf, which helps children get to know each instrument. His Tom Thumb composition also had different instruments for different characters.
Tickets for the concert on 3 July are free - some are still available, Telephone 0171 702 1377.