||4. There Was a Crooked Man
There Was a Crooked Man is one of the movements that make up the choral piece “Selections from Mother Goose” which is a collection of four nursery rhyme settings for SATB choir and piano. They were originally written in 1974 in celebration of the birth of my first child, Monika. These pieces were premiered by the WVIT Concert Choir in Montgomery, West Virginia. In 1999, the nursery rhymes went through a transformation with revisions of each piece and the addition of a piano accompaniment. They have been performed several times by the UW-RF Concert Choir in River Falls, WI. These pieces were originally written as a set but can also be effective by themselves.
Since this nursery rhyme is about a crooked man, it is set with a “crooked meter”: 7/8. The altos begin the piece, and are soon augmented with the addition of the sopranos followed by the men. There is a slow middle section in a new key with a slower tempo, very little accompaniment, and an opportunity for a bass and soprano soloist. In the next section, everyone sings the entire rhyme with a bit of a jazz style in the accompaniment. The piece concludes with the main theme from the first song of the set: Old Mother Goose.
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