The Jabberwocky



Instrumentation: TTBB
Duration: 5:45
Commission: Virginia Glee Club at the University of Virginia
Premiere: 4/1/06
Virginia Glee Club, Frank Albinder, Conductor
Old Cabell Auditorium, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA

Program Note:
When the University of Virginia Glee Club approached me about commissioning a piece, I chose Lewis Carroll’s delightful poem, “Jabberwocky.” In this time of trauma, I was drawn to the metaphorical slaying of the dragon. “Jabberwocky” is an optimistic poem, beautifully veiled, with a perfect marriage of form and sound. While many of us love this poem and know it by heart, fewer are aware that Carroll’s poem is the source of words, such as “chortle,” that have become part of our language. In the setting of the text, I have tried to capture something of the whimsy of the original. The chorus accompanies itself with interludes of percussive nonsense syllables, rolled tongue roars and whistles. The Jabberwocky was commissioned by and is dedicated to the Virginia Glee Club and its conductor Frank Albinder.–JS

Press Quote:
“The Jabberwocky, by Judith Shatin, English text, ECS, 6977, TTBB a cappella. This fanciful, creative work is brilliantly conceived and constructed to the famous poem by Lewis Carroll (1832-1898). The piece opens with appropriate nonsense syllables on fast rhythms that must be sung with extreme accuracy. Humor is extremely important as you work to create an effective performance. Changing meters dominate and help with the proper text versification. The text painting is driven by well-conceived rhythms, melodies, and harmonies. Collectively they build a unified conception of tremendous poetic and musical expression. The harmonies are brilliant but approachable. A perfect choice for the ending of a concert, this is a great addition to the men’s choral repertory. Difficulty rating 4.”–Choral Newsletter~Winter 2008-09, by Mari Staltz

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