Way to Castle Yonder, The - Pot-pourri after the Opera Higglety, Pigglety Pop


Full Orchestra
3.1.ca.3.1.cbsn - 4030 - perc(4): timp/tam-t/2 t.bells/susp.cym/vib/tamb/sleigh bells/cast/BD/tgl/SD/glsp/vibraslap - cel - pno - harp - strings (min
First Performance
(revised version) 31.1.91, Barbican Hall, London: London Symphony Orchestra/Michael Tilson Thomas

Score 0-571-51443-X on sale, parts for hire

Programme Notes

The Way to Castle Yonder is a concise digest of orchestral interludes for my second operatic collaboration with Maurice Sendak, Higglety Pigglety Pop!, which is a theatrical requiem for his dog, Jennie, in the frame of a 'quest' opera. Castle Yonder is the animals' theatrical heaven of Sendak's imagination. The Way to Castle Yonder is affectionately dedicated to Belinda and Colin Matthews, and the three continuous sections are: 1. The Journey to the Big White House, on a horse-drawn milk wagon driven by a cat-milk-man. The music is based on Jennie's aria which opens the opera. 'The wagon drives off and the show curtain closes. After a while, the pig is seen peeking out mysteriously from an arbour. He makes himself scarce when the milk wagon appears, crossing the stage in front of the show curtain'. 2. Kleine Trauermusik: 'A Little orchestral meditation while Jennie dreams of lions' - a chorale with another variant of Jennie's aria. 3. The Ride to Castle Yonder: 'Chimes begin to sound in the distance. The characters climb on the Lion's back. Mother Goose disappears as the bells get louder. The Lion springs forward, and the show curtain closes'. This final section grows from these images virtually in reverse, and the arrival at Castle Yonder briefly harks back to the Trauermusik chorale.

© Oliver Knussen

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