In early 2014 I was approached by The River Oaks Chamber Orchestra founder Alecia Lawyer to compose an original work for ROCO’s November concert series. Alecia had familiarized herself with several of my previous compositions and felt I would be well suited to write a piece in a similar vein. Fantasy is a place I’m very comfortable. We both took a couple of months to digest the possibilities. Alecia quickly beat me to the punch! She came up with an idea to have me write a piece that would complement Louis Carroll’s famous poem, “The Jabberwocky”.
“Fantastic,” I said. “I love doing dark ominous music!”
“NO!” Alecia said. “This piece is going on a concert with a Beethoven Piano concerto. Keep it light and up.” I chortled.
Where to start? After a few months (and a lot of head scratching) I began the process. I needed to find the work’s tonality and color. I started simply, with a few chords and harmonies that would keep the music light and whimsical as well as being true to the nature of the poem itself. After all, it comes from a place in Wonderland where everything…is….WACKO! The music started to take shape, but I was unclear where I was going with all of this. Was I going to underscore the narrative? Write about the many odd and inventive creatures from Carroll’s imagination?
It wasn’t long before I had the idea to take things from a different angle. Why couldn’t I go further within the poem and explore a bit of that world? With Alice as our guide, let us journey into the Tulgey Woods where Borogoves, Jub Jubs, and Mome Raths play, and the haunting burbles of a more menacing foe awaits.