‘An ABC of nonsense' The Guardian

Instrumentation

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

Availability

Full score on sale (HPOD1026)

Full score, vocal score and parts for hire

Programme Notes

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. 

Colin Matthews

Reviews

'The simplicity and playfulness of Matthews's creation could hardly fail to appeal, or to be enjoyable to perform.'
Manchester Evening News (Robert Beale), 12 July 2007
 
'A textbook example of how to write for diverse forces in a meaningful, inclusive yet unmistakably individual way.'
Gig magazine editorial (Paul Cutts), July 2007
 
‘An ABC of nonsense in which he creates individual sound worlds to describe cluck-work chickens or the topography of Eyeland (a country entirely surrounded by see).'
The Guardian (Alfred Hickling), 13 July 2007
 

Alphabicycle Order

Bridgewater Hall (Manchester, United Kingdom)

Hallé Orchestra, Hallé Children’s Choir, Stephen Bell

Alphabicycle Order

BBC Radio 3 (United Kingdom)

Hale Childrens choir, Hallé Orchestra, Mark Elder, Sir John Tomlinson

Alphabicycle Order

Bridgewater Hall (Manchester, United Kingdom)

Hallé Children's Choir, Hallé Orchestra, Mark Elder, narrator tbc

Alphabicycle Order

Bridgewater Hall (Manchester, United Kingdom)

Edward Gardner, Hallé Orchestra & Children's Choir

Alphabicycle Order

No Venue (United Kingdom)

Hallé Orchestra & Children's Choir, Mark Elder