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Lewis Carroll's long poem (subtitled 'An agony in eight fits') dates from 1872. The original text is divided into eight 'fits'. The story details a strange assortment of characters and their search for the Snark. Included in the quest are the Bellman (who acts as expedition leader, and also as something of a narrator at times), the Baker, the Butcher, the Beaver and several others. Each has a designated task although their actual abilities are often rather inadequate: for instance the Baker can only bake bridecake for which there are no materials at hand, and the Butcher can only kill Beavers. Whether or not they find the Snark is left uncertain at the end. The original version of this work was commissioned by Auckland choir Viva Voce in 1998 and first performed in November of that year with Teddy Tahu Rhodes as the Bellman. Lewis Carroll's famous poem was much too long to set complete, and conductor John Rosser provided an abridged version. For a performance in 2003 the conductor requested an even more abridged work, and provided a more abridged version of the text. The most significant change was the loss of the entire section 'The Banker's Fate'. Otherwise only a few further stanzas were removed from each of the other sections. Some minor revisions were also made to the music.
Commissioned by Auckland choir Viva Voce
- The Landing
- The Bellman's Speech
- The Baker's Tale
- The Beaver's Lesson
- The Vanishing
Text by Lewis Carroll, abridged by John Rosser
Performed by Viva Voce in 0003