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Thea Musgrave

Publisher: Novello & Co

On the Underground Set No. 2 (The Strange & the Exotic) (1994)
commissioned by Ithaca College School of Music
Text Writer
Robert Herrick, anon. 17th century, Edwin Morgan
Novello & Co Ltd
Chorus a cappella / + 1 instrument
Year Composed
5 Minutes
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Programme Note
Thea Musgrave On the Underground Set No. 2 (The Strange & the Exotic) (1994)

There is one unexpected pleasure taking the London Underground (and, more recently, also the New York City subway): one's eye may alight on a poem placed amongst the pervasive and numbing advertisements, and, for a moment, the imagination takes wing.

The poems selected for this work are all to be found in 100 Poems on the Underground. The first by Robert Herrick describes the dream world, the setting where the "wondrous sights" of the anonymous 17th century poem can be found. Fortunately the subway piranhas of Edwin Morgan's contemporary poem exist only in the imagination. However this poem, commissioned for the inauguration of Glasgow's refurbished underground, so alarmed the transport executive that it was never used!

  • Ensemble
    New York Virtuoso Singers
    Michael York (narrator)
    Harold Rosembaum
This was a collection of three short pieces. The final one, “The Subway Piranhas” was hilarious and effective and meant that audience members left the Cultural Center with smiles on their faces.
M.L. Rantala, Hyde Park Herald,31/07/2019
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