Alice in Wonderland

Genre:  Chamber music: flute, clarinet, violin, cello, piano

Description: A work in three movements inspired by the first film of the 'Alice in Wonderland' story; the music reflects the humour and magical effects of the film as well as its dream like qualities using harmonies which are sensuous, transparent and playful.
Duration: 19 minutes
Date: 2015

Programme Note

Alice in Wonderland is a score in three main sections, conceived to accompany a short film of the same name from 1903 by Hepworth and Stow. The film stars May Clark as Alice. In 2010 the BFI restored and released the remaining fragments of the film. It lasts approximately 9’30”. The film is fascinating because it is a very early attempt to transfer an extended children’s novel to the screen. It is also very engaging because it uses special effects and trick photography to create the atmosphere of a dream world of fantasies and anxieties.

I wanted to work with a film that would capture the interest of non-specialist audiences including school children and to create a score that would enable them to participate musically. The core ensemble of flute, clarinet, piano, violin and cello establishes the pulse and the main pitch centres.

Throughout the first section the pulse is clear and the pitch centre is C. In the second section, there is a more complex approach to rhythm, but throughout the piano and the cello provide the main pulse and rhythm, and the chords will always work with the note E. In the third section, the ideas of the first section are explored more fully and developed.

Gentle, verdant music
— Richard Hanlon, MusicWeb, 26 April 2018

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