Speak roughly

SATB, a capella

A wild romp, this piece is one movement from a set on texts from “Alice in Wonderland” – “Four Lewis Carroll Songs.”  May be purchased and performed separately.

Program Note

Four Lewis Carroll Songs were composed for and premiered by Seattle Pro Musica, and were awarded the Melodious Accord Composition prize. The work has been performed by numerous choral ensembles throughout the United States, and in Europe. The four movements may be performed as a set, or individually.

The four poems (Turtle Soup, Father William, Jabberwocky, and Speak roughly) are found in Alice in Wonderland and Alice Through the Looking-Glass, and are immediately familiar to most listeners. Turtle Soup is the song sung to Alice by the Mock Turtle, “in a voice chocked with sobs”, while Father William is a poem recited by Alice to the hookah-puffing caterpillar. Jabberwocky, the famous poem which Alice reads by holding it up to a looking-glass, is full of unusual words which are explained by Humpty-Dumpty thusly:  “brillig – four o’clock in the afternoon; “slithy toves – lithe and slimy creatures something like a badger, a lizard and a corkscrew; gyre – to go round like a gyroscope; gimble – to make holes like a gimlet; mimsy – flimsy and miserable; borogove – a thin, shabby looking bird, something like a live mop; mome raths – green pigs, who’ve lost their way; outgrabe – something between bellowing and whistling, with a sneeze in the middle.” (The other words are left to the reader’s imagination.) Finally, Speak roughly is sung by the Duchess to her howling, sneezing baby, who later turns into a pig.

Text

Speak roughly to your little boy,
And beat him when he sneezes;
He only does it to annoy,
Because he knows it teases.”
“Wow! wow! wow!”

I speak severely to my boy,
I beat him when he sneezes;
For he can thoroughly enjoy
The pepper when he pleases!”
“Wow! wow! wow!”

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