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Since my first setting of Jack Prelutsky's poetry in 1996 (The Dragons are Singing Tonight for choir and brass band) I've returned to his texts frequently. Although this American author is best-known as a writer of poetry for children, his humorous verses appeal to all ages, and he is one of the most widely anthologized poets around.
Monday's Troll is a companion set to his dragon poems. The poems are not a cycle in the sense of telling a connected story, but they do explore different aspects of the subject at hand: trolls, wizards, goblins, giants and ogres. For this initial set of pieces I've selected four of the poems. The first echoes the well-known children's rhyme which begins 'Monday's child is fair of face'. The second is Bellow the ogre telling us all about himself, and features the men's voices prominently. The third piece allows the women's voices to take the limelight and is a short lullaby sung by a mother ogre to her young one. The final piece details the lives of seven grubby goblins who take great delight in their rather unpleasant lifestyle.
Monday's Troll features a solo bass clarinet in a kind of concertante role. It could be thought of as the voice of the various characters in the pieces. The work was commissioned by Christchurch Symphony Orchestra for their 2002 Proms concert with funding from Creative New Zealand. Monday's Troll was first performed on 9th November 2002 by the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra and Christchurch City Choir, with Gretchen Dunsmore (bass clarinet), conducted by Marc Taddei.
Commissioned by the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra for their 2002 Proms concert with funding from Creative New Zealand
- Monday's Troll
- Mother Ogre's Lullaby
- We're Seven Grubby Goblins
Text by Jack Prelutsky
09 Nov 2002: Performed by Gretchen La Roche (bass clarinet), Christchurch Symphony, Christchurch city Choir, cond. Marc Taddei; Christchurch Town Hall
05 Jul 2008: Hamilton conducts Hamilton