A Secular Cantata
For chorus, narrator and chamber orchestra
Music by Peter Ash
Text Adapted by Donald Sturrock
Based on Roald Dahl's The Giraffe and The Pelly and Me
SIR TONY ROBINSON:
“The Pelicantata is a beautiful, exhilarating piece which had the audience on its feet. The words are witty, the composition is immaculate, and the use of a young chorus gives the evening a playful and contemporary feel. I’m sure Roald Dahl would have loved it.”
The Pelicantata is the newest of the Roald Dahl musical adaptations and the first piece commissioned for choir. Bringing in a narrator to join the adult and children's choirs, Peter Ash and Donald Sturrock have created a unique and vibrant choral extravaganza.
The piece is full of fun and appealing musical characterisation. Highlights include: a Handelian fugue based on Roald's description of the front of Hampshire House with its 677 filthy windows and a Purcellian catch depicting the Pelican's hunger. Each animal is brought to life by a different instrument: the Giraffe is a contra-bassoon, the Pelly a cor anglais, and the Monkey a flugel horn.
Stroud Choral Society/Huw Williams
2017, Bath Abbey
Sir Tony Robinson narrated the World Premiere performance at Bath Abbey and was joined by the wonderful children of "The Minpins", a children's choir set up with the support of Liccy Dahl especially for this piece.
The Premiere received a rapturous standing ovation from a packed Bath Abbey. The piece was designed to be performed by, and to appeal to all ages.
"Peter Ash has penned a witty musical counterpoint to Donald Sturrock's hugely enjoyable adaptation of Dahl's tale. The work's characterful, vivid instrumental colours make the whacky dramatis personae leap from the score, with especially generous vocal writing to suit a gifted amateur chorus and a well-drilled children's choir. Full of cheeky charm and gentle lampooning of the English upper classes, The Pelicantata cries out to be animated or staged. One of Britain's venerable country house festivals could have a lot of fun with this..."
Ashutosh Khandekhar, Editor in Chief, Opera Now.
Click here to read a blogpost from Peter Ash about composing the piece.
Cover Image and Lettering:
Children's Choir (or Semi-Chorus)
Optional Audience Participation...
Chamber Orchestra Version I - 20 players
2 oboes (2nd doubling cor anglais)
1 bassoon (doubling contra bassoon)
2 trumpets (2nd doubling flugelhorn) with two mutes each (straight and harmon);
small triangle, ratchet, whip, bell tree, 2 wood blocks (medium and high)
telephone (optional bell tree),
medium supended cymbal, clash cymbals
piccolo snare drum, bass drum, 3-4 timpani (20", 26", 29")
strings (minimum 220.127.116.11.1(low C))
Peter Ash: “That scoring uses the forces that might be expected for a standard choral society concert in the UK. I imagined a 30 minute 1st half of Chandos anthems or a Mozart Mass followed by The Pelicantata in the 2nd half. That being said, it would work well in a much larger "Prom" version with expanded strings, and particularly when there is a large concert organ available.”
Chamber Ensemble Version II - 7 players (coming soon)
flute, oboe (doubling cor anglais), clarinet,
bassoon (doubling contra bassoon), horn, piano and percussion
Chamber Ensemble Version III - 3 players (coming soon)
organ, harp and percussion/timps
The piano reduction in the vocal score, which can be adapted for organ,
may be used for concert performance if one of the ensembles above is not available.
For more about Roald Dahl's The Giraffe and The Pelly and Me: