The Owl and the Pussycat (1985)
for children's choir and orchestra
Duration: ca. 6 minutes
This "Barcarolle for Pierside Performance", was written for the teachers and students of Wigan schools, who wholeheartedly involved themselves in McQueen's work during his three-year North West Arts residency. The choir sings Edward Lear's three surreal verses in two part writing throughout.
The orchestral writing is not easy, but should be approachable for an imaginative conductor and young players of grade IV + Associated Board standard and. the Coda quotes two appropriate Scottish songs: "You'll Tak' the High Road", and "Auld Lang Syne".
The orchestral forces are flexible: sometimes chords are notated in the score, voiced for three flutes or clarinets, for example. Ultimately, the conductor must decide how many players to allow, so as not to overbalance ensemble with the choir. The scoring is fls (numbers as outlined above); obs; cls; bsns; hns; tpts; tbns; Timp; 2 perc; strings.
A vocal score is available with piano reduction.
MP3 audio extract (1'14"):
Other Music for Young Players or Amateurs: