‘An ABC of nonsense' The Guardian
2(both=picc).2(II=ca).2.bcl.2(II=cbsn) – 4231 – timp(=large cym) – perc(3): I: vib/4 tom-tom/3 c.bell/2 brake drums/large wdbl/siz.cym/vibraslap/cast/slide flute/metal ratchet II: glsp/BD/switches/susp.cym/cym/tgl/tam-t/tamb/4 bongos/guiro/cabasa/chocola(tubo)/friction bird-call/referee’s whistle/lion’s roar/vibraslap III: xyl/glsp/SD/susp.cym/cym/claves/wooden ratchet/waterphone/glass chimes/sleighbells/wind machine/yacht siren/vibraslap/cast – harp – pno – strings
As soon as I read Christopher Reid’s collection of children’s poems Alphabicycle Order I wanted to set them to music. The poems play on words in, as you might expect, alphabetical order, ranging from the sinister (the menacing Vumpire, a cross between an umpire and a vampire) to absurd (the Umbrellaphant, half elephant, half umbrella) with plenty of room for humour, and a little sentiment thrown in for good measure. We meet with Cluckworth chickens, the newly discovered country of Eyeland, an Iciclist, the fabulous liarbird and the very superior Queen Bean. I’ve hugely enjoyed writing these 26 numbers, and hope they’ll be fun to sing, shout, play and also speak.’ Written for narrator, children’s chorus, and the Hallé, the work lasts around half an hour.