Piece of the week: ‘Three Nonsense Songs’

I’m writing this on a very gloomy and wet Bank Holiday Monday – so I thought I would cheer myself up with ‘Three Nonsense Songs’.

These songs are taken from my cantata ‘Mr Lear’, but are now available as a set of three, and also separately.  Over the years Mr Lear has been performed by many choirs, including The Bach Choir, conducted by David Hill – and it is a setting of poems, limericks, and quotations by the wonderful humourist and painter, Edward Lear.  It is scored for narrator, SATB choir, optional youth choir, and either piano or brass quintet, and the scoring for these three songs is the same, minus the narrator.

The three songs that I’ve chosen for this set are:

1.  Broom, Shovel, Poker and Tongs
2. The Owl and the Pussycat
3. The Table and the Chair

We begin with the eventful Sunday outing of the Broom, Shovel, Poker and Tongs- a musical picture of the quirky below-stairs world in the Lear household. The four companions go for a carriage ride in the park on their afternoon holiday – but Mr. Poker gets a bit too friendly with Miss Shovel, and Mr. Tongs’ amorous approaches to Mrs Broom only meet with laughter, and then anger, from the two ladies. However, on their return home, a cup of tea soon calms everyone down and puts matters right again.

The second song gives us an opportunity to re-discover the romantic tale of the Owl and the Pussycat, and to share their journey and their wedding in the land where the Bong-Tree grows, followed by dancing by the light of the moon.

And finally, my favourite, because it is so ridiculous, a conversation between a table and a chair as they learn to walk, wander through the town, get a little lost, and finally dine together on beans and bacon.

So I hope these songs cheer you up too!  The recordings are with brass quintet, but the printed music is with piano – brass quintet score and parts are also available from Colne Edition.

More details, and purchase links, here

Scrolling score – printed music and audio – here