The Jabberwocky

Judith Shatin

About this work:
When the University of Virginia Glee Club approached me about commissioning a piece, I spent a great deal of time reading and thinking about what text to set. Some members of the Club also made excellent suggestions. In the end, however, 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, as well as finger snaps, claps, rolled tongue roars and whistles. The Jabberwocky was commissioned by and is dedicated to the University of Virginia Glee Club and its conductor Frank Albinder. –JS
Year composed: 2006
Duration: 00:05:30
Ensemble type: Chorus, with or without Solo Voices:Chorus, Unaccompanied
Instrumentation notes: TTBB, A Cappella Men's Chorus

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