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Southern Sweet (2016)

I. Introduction: This is Just to Say (William Carlos Williams)
II. Intermezzo: Dance
III. Finale: Rules and Regulations (Lewis Carroll)
for soprano, bassoon, violin, viola, cello

commissioned by the 2016 Twickenham Fest music festival and dedicated to co-Artistic Directors Susanna Phillips and Matthew McDonald

Southern Sweet was commissioned by the 2016 Twickenham Fest music festival and is dedicated to co-Artistic Directors Susanna Phillips and Matthew McDonald. Scored for the unusual, yet extremely fun combination of Soprano, Bassoon, and String Trio (Violin, Viola, and Cello), the work is in three movements. The brief opening movement sets a succinct and humorous poem by the imagist poet William Carlos Williams called "This is Just to Say."

 

This Is Just To Say
William Carlos Williams

I have eaten
the plums
that were in
the icebox

and which
you were probably
saving
for breakfast

Forgive me
they were delicious
so sweet
and so cold

 

The second movement, entitled Intermezzo: Dance, is a virtuosic showpiece for the bassoon and string trio in 6/8 time. Inspired by the gigue movement from typical Baroque dance suites, it has a high octane, perpetual motion spirit that sizzles along at breakneck speed. 

The soprano rejoins the ensemble for the last movement called Finale: Rules and Regulations featuring the words of Lewis Carroll. Here the interplay between the soprano and the other instruments, particularly the bassoon, reflects the witty feeling in the text and brings my Southern Sweet to a playful close.

 

Rules and Regulations
Lewis Carroll

A short direction 
To avoid dejection, 
By variations 
In occupations, 
And prolongation 
Of relaxation, 
And combinations 
Of recreations, 
And disputation 
On the state of the nation 
In adaptation
To your station, 
By invitations 
To friends and relations, 
By evitation 
Of amputation, 
By permutation 
In conversation, 
And deep reflection 
You'll avoid dejection. 

Learn well your grammar, 
And never stammer, 
Write well and neatly, 
And sing most sweetly, 
Be enterprising, 
Love early rising, 
Go walk of six miles, 
Have ready quick smiles, 
With lightsome laughter, 
Soft flowing after. 
Drink tea, not coffee;
Never eat toffy. 
Eat bread with butter. 
Once more, don't stutter. 

Don't waste your money, 
Abstain from honey. 
Shut doors behind you, 
(Don't slam them, mind you.) 
Drink beer, not porter. 
Don't enter the water 
Till to swim you are able. 
Sit close to the table. 
Take care of a candle. 
Shut a door by the handle, 
Don't push with your shoulder 
Until you are older. 
Lose not a button. 
Refuse cold mutton. 
Starve your canaries. 
Believe in fairies. 
If you are able, 
Don't have a stable 
With any mangers. 
Be rude to strangers. 

Moral: Behave.

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