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Jabberwocky
   

Jabberwocky

DiLorenzo, Anthony


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  • Ensemble: Orchestra
  • Genre: Modern Classical
  • Grade: 5
  • Duration: 17.0 minutes
  • Catalog Number: AOS1064

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  • The music underscores Alice's journey through the looking glass back to Wonderland. When the piece begins, I wanted to portray a feeling of mystery, as if we (the audience) were opening a book knowing that adventure lays just a few pages away.

    While spending just a few moments in the “real world”, I waste no time and start the teleportation process, through her looking glass. The low woodwinds start their low trembling burbles that quickly build to a full orchestra crescendo, signaling her arrival back to Wonderland. The wondrous world is just as she remembered. Alice looks on with amazement and curiosity before stumbling upon an intriguing book of poems. The poem is written in mirror text, which appears completely backwards. Since the world of Wonderland is inverse and upside-down in just about every way, Alice carries her own mirror to help navigate her way through Wonderland.

    The poem she fixates on is called “Jabberwocky.” Holding her mirror up to the poem, She reads it. Alice is utterly confused by its meaning and comprehension. It is utter nonsense! The music underscores a sense of mystery, foreshadowing events to come.

    `Twas brillig, and the slithy toves, did gyre and gimble in the wabe: All mimsy were the borogoves, And the mome raths outgrabe.

    "Beware the Jabberwock, my son! The jaws that bite, the claws that catch! Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun the frumious Bandersnatch!

    "He took his vorpal sword in hand: Long time the manxome foe he sought -- So rested he by the Tumtum tree, And stood awhile in thought.

    And, as in uffish thought he stood, The Jabberwock, with eyes of flame, Came whiffling through the tulgey wood, And burbled as it came!

    One, two! One, two! And through and through The vorpal blade went snicker-snack!_He left it dead, and with its head He went galumphing back.

    "And, has thou slain the Jabberwock? Come to my arms, my beamish boy! O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!' He chortled in his joy.

    Twas brillig, and the slithy toves Did gyre and gimble in the wabe; All mimsy were the borogoves, And the mome raths outgrabe.

    Shortly into the music, a strange boy spies Alice as she catches just a glimpse of him through the corner of her eye. The boy quickly runs away and she pursues him through the fantastic mazed gardens of Wonderland.

    I used a few percussion instruments and techniques to simulate the odd creatures of wonderland. One of which, are metal brushes being played on a cigar box (or similar) to create the wings of flying nymphs.

    Eventually the boy leads Alice to a part of wonderland she’s never explored. She finds herself at the edge of a thick denseforest where she hesitates. Eventually, Alice builds the courage to enter. Before her eyes is wondrous world of beauty and color. The music builds with melodic strings and orchestration as Alice pulls back the thick foliage to uncover a new magical world deep within the forest.

    While Alice familiarizes herself with her new surroundings, the boy keeps his distance. In fact, she never really gets a good look at him. Surrounding Alice are many oddly shaped and quirky creatures that will eventually come to be known as Mome Raths,Bandersnatches, Borogoves, and few others that will follow.

    Night falls quickly and soon later, Alice’s imagination starts to play tricks on her. Or does it? Across the lake, an eerie murmur of sound is heard. Before she can make up her mind to investigate, the mysterious boy steers her astray where she runs into the Jubjub bird. Here the contra bassoon begins, with low tones quickly crescendoing one after another, as if to mimic a ghastly outburst of, “who goes there!?” After his squawking is finished, the Jubjub bird prances around in a clumsy gallop, circling and pacing around Alice.

    The music builds, as does Alice’s anxiety. Whilst the Jubjub’s intentions weren’t clear, a more menacing foe awaits just beyond sight. The sound of ferocious clawing on the forest trees gets the best of both of them. The Jubjub and Alice run. The use of the scraped washboard seemed appropriate here.

    Confused and disoriented, Alice is luckily navigated from harms way through and out of the forest to a triumphant escape. As Alice catches her breath, she thanks the boy and asks who he is. The boy does not answer, but simply smiles and disappears into the nearby brush just before Alice catches a glimpse of a large claw tied around his neck, like a trophy. “Could this be the boy in the poem?” Alice thinks to herself.

    The story concludes with the reading of Lewis Carroll’s inventive and whimsical poem. Here, I chose the music to be slightly more serious, haunting and thought provoking.

    Instrumentation: 2, 1+1, 2+1,2+1 - 4,2,0,0 - T+2,hp,cel - 10,8,6,6,4

    • Flute 1-2
    • Oboe 
    • English Horn
    • Clarinet 1 & 2, second doubling on Bass Clarinet
    • Bassoon 1 & 2, second doubling on Contrabassoon
    • Horn 1-4
    • Trumpet in C 1-2
    • Timpani
    • Percussion - Waterphone, Bowed Bycicle Wheel, Cymbals, Woodblocks, Glock, Temple Blocks, Washboard, Claves, Marimba, Flutter sticks, Vibraphone, Bamboo Chimes, Sandpaper or Cabasa
    • Harp
    • Celeste
    • Violin 1-2 (10 and 8)
    • Viola (6)
    • Cello (6)
    • Bass (4)


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