A choral work with piano accompaniment setting one of Edward Lear‘s nonsense poems.
This work may be performed by four solo voices or a chorus. The four characters in the poem are each represented by a separate voice. The actual words of the characters could also be sung solo within a choral performance.
The setting is modified strophic, reflecting the structure of the poem. The ostinato represents the horses trot, but is not maintained throughout to avoid monotony. The trill near the end represents a simmering kettle. Much word painting is used as well as mood painting. ‘Crashes’ and ‘bangs’ are all portrayed in the piano part. The colour black is represented by the black notes on the keyboard and the colour blue by chromatic harmony with ’blue’ notes. The ‘ding-a-dong’ chorus is extended in each verse beyond that of the poem for musical effect.