Beware the JabberwockBeware the Jabberwock
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Beware the Jabberwock

for percussion ensemble and optional narration
Level: Med-Easy
Duration: 3:10
Personnel: 8-11 players
Release Date: 2020
Product ID : TSPCE20-018
Price: $36.00
Item #: TSPCE20-018

Formats Available:


Description

Lewis Carroll’s famous nonsense poem, Jabberwocky is considered a classic in English literature. John Willmarth’s musical setting of this same poem titled Beware the Jabberwock, is an exciting and accessible treatment of the original, which brings Carroll’s best known work to the world of percussion.

The poem tells the tale of an epic battle between a boy and the vicious creature know as the Jabberwock, with the boy being triumphant in the end. To tell this tale and to match Carroll’s innovative use of nonsense words like “chortled” and “galumphing,” Willmarth uses an assortment of quirky percussion accessories as well as dissonant harmonies. These compositional techniques help provide the perfect sonic underpinning for Carroll’s poem. The original poem is provided in the score as well as cues for the beginnings of each stanza so that if desired, the poem can be narrated along with the performance of the piece.


Beware the Jabberwock comes as a professionally printed and bound score and includes individual parts in PDF format for printing or for tablet viewing.

Instrumentation

Glockenspiel

Chimes

Xylophone

Vibraphone

Marimba (4-octave)

3 timpani

Drums (snare drum, bass drum, congas, large tom)

Cymbals (China cymbal, hi-hat, ride cymbal, 2 suspended cymbals (or share 1)

Accessories (triangle, brake drum, cowbell, temple blocks, mounted tambourine, mark tree, slapstick)

Reviews

“Beware the Jabberwock” is inspired by Lewis Carroll’s poem “Jabberwocky,” itself borne from the Alice in Wonderland literary universe. There are a number of elements that work well for a young percussion ensemble: instrumentation is quite flexible, with marimba and xylophone parts being interchangeable (two xylophones, two marimbas, or one of each), as well as two optional percussion parts; pervasive repetition, affording for greater comfort sooner in the rehearsal process; and a fairly playful overall presentation. 

Because the narration is optional, there are essentially two programmable versions of this piece. The version for percussion ensemble with- out narrator is nice on its own. The tonal content is refreshing, largely relying on whole-tone pitch collections. The pulse is typically reinforced some- where within the ensemble, which is particularly helpful for younger performers. However, the inclusion of narration really brings this piece to life. Carroll’s colorful poetry dances upon the playful and offbeat percussion ensemble foundation, creating a fun instability for the listener. This piece would serve as a great vessel to feature a student who may be less comfortable physically playing in the percussion ensemble, or perhaps a student or teacher from the drama department. 

John Willmarth has done a great job of creating a work for younger players that is sonically interesting and musically rewarding. The possibilities for collaboration and introducing students to the theatrical nature inherent to performing percussion publicly are built into the foundation of this work: it is almost guaranteed to be a performance that students and audience members will take with them after they leave the concert hall. 

—Jamie Wind Whitmarsh
Percussive Notes
Vol. 58, No. 5, October 2020

Description

Lewis Carroll’s famous nonsense poem, Jabberwocky is considered a classic in English literature. John Willmarth’s musical setting of this same poem titled Beware the Jabberwock, is an exciting and accessible treatment of the original, which brings Carroll’s best known work to the world of percussion.

The poem tells the tale of an epic battle between a boy and the vicious creature know as the Jabberwock, with the boy being triumphant in the end. To tell this tale and to match Carroll’s innovative use of nonsense words like “chortled” and “galumphing,” Willmarth uses an assortment of quirky percussion accessories as well as dissonant harmonies. These compositional techniques help provide the perfect sonic underpinning for Carroll’s poem. The original poem is provided in the score as well as cues for the beginnings of each stanza so that if desired, the poem can be narrated along with the performance of the piece.


Beware the Jabberwock comes as a professionally printed and bound score and includes individual parts in PDF format for printing or for tablet viewing.

Instrumentation

Glockenspiel

Chimes

Xylophone

Vibraphone

Marimba (4-octave)

3 timpani

Drums (snare drum, bass drum, congas, large tom)

Cymbals (China cymbal, hi-hat, ride cymbal, 2 suspended cymbals (or share 1)

Accessories (triangle, brake drum, cowbell, temple blocks, mounted tambourine, mark tree, slapstick)

Reviews

“Beware the Jabberwock” is inspired by Lewis Carroll’s poem “Jabberwocky,” itself borne from the Alice in Wonderland literary universe. There are a number of elements that work well for a young percussion ensemble: instrumentation is quite flexible, with marimba and xylophone parts being interchangeable (two xylophones, two marimbas, or one of each), as well as two optional percussion parts; pervasive repetition, affording for greater comfort sooner in the rehearsal process; and a fairly playful overall presentation. 

Because the narration is optional, there are essentially two programmable versions of this piece. The version for percussion ensemble with- out narrator is nice on its own. The tonal content is refreshing, largely relying on whole-tone pitch collections. The pulse is typically reinforced some- where within the ensemble, which is particularly helpful for younger performers. However, the inclusion of narration really brings this piece to life. Carroll’s colorful poetry dances upon the playful and offbeat percussion ensemble foundation, creating a fun instability for the listener. This piece would serve as a great vessel to feature a student who may be less comfortable physically playing in the percussion ensemble, or perhaps a student or teacher from the drama department. 

John Willmarth has done a great job of creating a work for younger players that is sonically interesting and musically rewarding. The possibilities for collaboration and introducing students to the theatrical nature inherent to performing percussion publicly are built into the foundation of this work: it is almost guaranteed to be a performance that students and audience members will take with them after they leave the concert hall. 

—Jamie Wind Whitmarsh
Percussive Notes
Vol. 58, No. 5, October 2020



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