Scheme of the Jumblies Suite
(The Story of The Jumblies)
Words by Edward Lear with music (and some libretto) by John Kilpatrick.
1. The Book (clarinet intro.; tenor solo with piano and
After a short introduction by percussion, piano and clarinet*, the narrator (tenor soloist), accompanied by piano, muses about the book he is carrying, namely a copy of The Complete Nonsense of Edward Lear. He dips into it, singing two of the nonsense quatrains, though is a bit put out by finding that both of them end with the protagonist being smashed. He looks for something nicer, and chances on The Owl and the Pussy-Cat: depending on the selected version, he sings it, or asks if anyone can sing it.
* or Alto Saxophone (in this number only).
2. The Owl and the Pussy-Cat (solo and piano: Stravinsky
Either the narrator sings the Hely-Hutchinson arrangement of this rhyme, or a soprano soloist pops up from the choir to sing the Stravinsky.
3. The Author (tenor solo and piano)
The narrator admits to not having introduced the author, and the choir awakes to tell us who he is (Edward Lear), leading to ...
4. How Pleasant to Know Mr Lear (choir & wind
A beguine in which six of the verses of Lear's self-portrait (a poem at the beginning of the nonsense book) are sung. The first and last are set with the wind ensemble*, while the middle four are sung, overlapping, a cappella by the SATB voices. During this number the soloist may thumb through the book as though looking for further material - though, at the end, he should put the book down as though his role so far has been play-acting.
* the wind ensemble includes percussion, but not piano.
5. Preamble to The Jumblies (clarinet intro.; tenor
solo with piano)
After the short clarinet and piano lead-in, the narrator declares that we (the singers) would like to tell the audience a story. He then outlines some salient features of the Jumblies' plans for their bold venture, leading to ...
6. The Jumblies (choir and wind ensemble)
Edward Lear's poem The Jumblies is presented by choir and wind ensemble.
7. Preamble to The Dong (bass clarinet intro.; tenor
solo with piano)
After a few bars by bass clarinet and piano, the narrator reflects on the happy story of the Jumblies, but declares that "for every silver lining there is a cloud", and warns us of the darker tale to follow ...
8. The Dong (choir and wind ensemble)
Edward Lear's poem The Dong with the Luminous Nose is now performed by choir and wind ensemble, to conclude the suite.
The suite is written for the following:
A mixed voice SATB choir; all parts divide in places. Because of the size of the wind ensemble 20 or more voices would be desirable, though the first performance had only 15.
The Narrator (a sung part): this soloist could optionally be taken from the choir.
Other choir soloists
In The Jumblies:
An alto soloist is optional in verse 3, the alternative being unison;
A tenor soloist is required in verse 4.
In The Dong:
A bass soloist is required in verse 4.
A tenor soloist representing the Dong is required in verses 5, 6 and (briefly) 9.
A clarinet quartet (3 x Bb clarinet, 1 x bass clarinet)
A trombone trio (2 x tenor trombone, 1 x bass trombone)
A French horn
Percussion (a drum kit with the addition of a gong)
Piano (used in the narrative numbers, not the ensemble numbers)