Hums and Songs of Winnie-the-Pooh


soprano and chamber ensemble of 5 players
Milne Aa (Author)
Mixed Chamber Ensemble, Soprano
AA Milne
fl(=picc) - perc(1): tree/2 tgl/claves/2 windchimes/cardboard box/balloon/pin - vlc
First Performance
14.6.83, Aldeburgh Festival, Snape Maltings: Dorothy Dorow/Aldeburgh Festival Ensemble/Oliver Knussen

Score 0-571-50885-5 on sale, parts for hire

Programme Notes

An early version of this piece was written and performed in 1970; Hums and Songs, which contains much new material, was composed in the spring of 1983 for the Aldeburgh Festival. It isn’t exactly a setting of the episode with tree, bees and balloon near the beginning of A A Milne’s Winnie-the-Pooh – indeed, words are rarely discernible; neither is it a small-scale tone poem, though there are many onomatopoeic devices. It is, rather, a sequence of faded snapshots and reflections, by an unwilling grown-up, on things remembered from the book, and on what those things meant to him as a child. So the piece is whimsical: it hops back and forth between Pooh-like expressions and the inner world of a child just after the light is switched off, following no particular pattern – I allowed the music to take itself where it wanted to go. The two worlds meet in the last song during which, perhaps, the child falls asleep.

© Oliver Knussen

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