Naxos has released composer Maurice Saylor’s “magnum opus” The Hunting of the Snark: An Agony in Eight Fits, on CD and where all fine digital music files can be downloaded. You can hear the excellent Cantate Singers toss lines from Carroll’s poem around in a choral whirlwind, accompanied by Saylor’s Snark Pit-Band. The other tracks on the album, music Saylor wrote for silent films and played by The Snark Ensemble, are also really fun. Listen to excerpts of Amazon’s mp3s (individual tracks for $0.89, or the whole album for $11.68), or buy from iTunes here. The Snark Ensemble pictured below, Maurice Saylor second from right:
Monday morning off to a dull start? Transform it with this Vocaloid musical created by the Japanese artist known as Oster Project.
The part of Alice (and possibly all the other parts as well – I’m shaky on the technology here) was “sung” by Hatsune Miku, a singing synthesizer application which was created using vocal samples from Japanese actress Saki Fujita. Hatsume Miku, one of many singing personas created using the Vocaloid software, has become a virtual idol: her album topped a Japanese weekly album chart and she even performed “live” in Tokyo in last year.
The great country revival duo, Gillian Welch (with Dave Rawlings), released their first album in almost a decade, The Harrow & the Harvest. (It’s really good.) They went on Fresh Air with Terry Gross to schlep it, and at the end of the show, Gross asked them to play a cover, “to surprise us with a song that we might not think that they like.” They chose Jefferson Airplane’s “White Rabbit,” and it’s a pretty damned beautiful cover of that song. Starting at 41 minutes into the show, Welch explains why they chose that song, and then their version of it gets cut off for the credits. HOWEVER, naturally, they’re hawking it as a special single on iTunes, for $1.29. Remember what the dormouse said… “That I can’t remember,” said the Hatter.
Mike Batt’s The Hunting of the Snark is finally getting a U.S. release on July 12th on his own label Dramatico. The original 1980′s concept album featured Art Garfunkel, Roger Daltrey, George Harrison, Stephane Grappelli, Sir John Gielgud, John Hurt, Captain Sensible, Deniece Williams, Julian Lennon, Sir Cliff Richard and a kitchen sink. Mike Batt was interviewed last week by American Songwriter’s Evan Schlanksy, about his take on “Snark” and the history of the piece:
Here’s Captain Sensible performing the Snooker Song at the Royal Albert Hall performance:
If you’re in Pittsburgh this weekend, the symphony will perform Final Alice (1972) by David Del Tredici, the Pulizer-winning American composer who spent much of his earlier career being inspired by Carroll’s writings. Final Alice is “an opera in concert form for soprano, folk ensemble, and orchestra.” Leonard Slatkin conducts and Hila Pitmann sings the Soprano Alice part at the Heinz Hall, tonight and Sunday. There’s a nice profile on Del Tredici and the piece in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette today: ‘Wonderland’ led composer through looking glass preview by Andrew Druckenbrod.
The 1980 recording with Sir George Solti and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra is on Amazon here. There are some extensive program notes here by Slatkin about the piece when he performed it at the Kennedy Center.
Wonderland: A New Musical (formerly known as Wonderland: A New Musical Adventure) started previews today, March 21st, at the Marquis Theatre on Broadway. It stars Janet Dacal, who created the role of the “modern-day Manhattan mom named Alice” in Tampa Bay, alongside former Miss America Kate Shindle as Mad Hatter. It will open officially April 17th, assuming multiple actors don’t break bones and it gets pushed back six months.
However, there’s some other Broadway buzz which might cast a bandersnatchian shadow over the proceedings. Disney, whose Broadway franchises include the hugely successful Beauty and the Beast and The Lion King, has announced they will turn their Tim Burton version of Alice in Wonderland, the sixth highest grossing film of all time, into a Broadway Musical. And Tim Burton himself has agreed to help with the design. Linda Woolverton, who wrote the screenplay for the movie as well as the screenplay for The Lion King and the scripts for Broadway’s Beauty and the Beast and Aida, will be writing the script for this also.
If Wonderland: A New Musical is a long-running hit (as composer Frank Wildhorn’s previous shows Jekyll & Hyde and The Scarlet Pimpernel have both been), could there be dueling Wonderlands on Broadway!?
Meanwhile, here’s a “sneak peek” of the new Wonderland: A New Musical, if you can’t afford the $49-$132 ticket price.
The Belgian Pop trio K3 will be starring in “Alice in Wonderland le Musical” in Antwerp, April 9th through 25th, 2011. I can’t embed the promo videos, but I highly recommend them – link here.
K3 appear to all be playing Alice, but in three different colors. Here’s a google-translated description (from the Dutch) of the show:
I thought live theater was in 3D already?
UPDATE: Thank you Europopped for e-mailing us that K3 has already released an Alice-themed video this year!
We are big fans of Alicenations, one of several blogs of the Lewis Carroll Society of Brazil managed by Adriana Peliano. The site regularly features original and experimental music, video, and illustrations created by Adriana, together with her husband Paulo Beto, and inspired by the Alice books.
Here’s a recent creation which began life as a damaged Disney LP:
The video below (a work in progress) makes use of some of the resulting music. Visit Alicenations for further description of the project, and the opportunity to download mp3s.
The internet humor depot, Cracked.com, yesterday posted a collection of “19 Unintentionally Terrifying Children’s Album Covers“, two of which were old Alice records:
I think all LCSNA members will know the answer to that last question.
When our cousins the Lewis Carroll Society of Brazil held their first “Alice Day” in May this year, one of the main events was the live performance of a new soundtrack to the silent Alice in Wonderland (1903). The music was composed by Paulo Beto and performed by the band Frame Circus on keyboards, cello, percussion and Theremin.
Thank you to Adriana Peliano for sending us news of the event. Adriana tends Alicenations, the blog of the Lewis Carroll Society of Brazil. The above video featured in her Alice Day blog post, along with another soundtrack by Frame Circus, and a video of Leon Theremin playing his own instrument.
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