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Thea Musgrave

Publisher: Novello & Co

Going North (2004)
Going North was commissioned by the Young People’s Chorus of New York for ‘Transient Glory, the Voices of Children’, Francisco J. Nuñez, artistic director. First performed at the Transient Glory Concert on 29th April 2006 at the Ethical Culture Society, New York City.
Text Writer
John Keats
Novello & Co Ltd
Chorus a cappella / Chorus plus 1 instrument
Year Composed
7 Minutes
children's choir

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Programme Note
Thea Musgrave Going North (2004)
It is challenging to find a way to compose that hopefully will be interesting and fun for young people and yet not too difficult . A major concern of course is to find the right text: something that will be appreciated by urban young people. I thought that this “nonsense” poem of John Keats would be highly suitable. It is set for young voices, soprano and alto and accompanied by two clarinets.

There was a naughty Boy,
A naughty boy was he,
He would not stop at home,
He could not quiet be –
He took
In his Knapsack
A Book
Full of vowels
And a shirt
With some towels –
A slight cap
For night cap –
A hair brush,
Comb ditto,
New Stockings
For old ones
Would split O!
This Knapsack
Tight at’s back
He rivetted close
And followed his Nose
To the North,
To the North,
And follow’d his nose
To the North.

There was a naughty boy
And a naughty boy was he,
For nothing would he do
But scribble poetry –
He took
An ink stand
In his hand
And a pen
Big as ten
In the other.
And away
In a Pother
He ran
To the mountains
And fountains
And ghostes
And Postes
And witches
And ditches
And wrote
In his coat
When the weather
Was cool,
Fear of gout,
And without
When the weather
Was warm –
Och the charm
When we choose
To follow one’s nose
To the north,
To the north,
To follow one’s nose
To the north!

There was a naughty boy
And a naughty boy was he,
He kept little fishes
In washing tubs three
In spite
Of the might
Of the Maid
Nor afraid
Of his Granny-good –
He often would
Hurly burly
Get up early
And go
By hook or crook
To the brook
And bring home
Miller’s thumb,
Not over fat,
Minnows small
As the stall
Of a glove,
Not above
The size
Of a nice
Little Baby’s
Little fingers –
O he made
’Twas his trade
Of Fish a pretty Kettle
A Kettle –
A Kettle
Of Fish a pretty Kettle
A Kettle!

There was a naughty Boy,
And a naughty Boy was he,
He ran away to Scotland
The people for to see –
Then he found
That the ground
Was as hard,
That a yard
Was as long,
That a song
Was as merry,
That a cherry
Was as red –
That lead
Was as weighty,
That fourscore
Was as eighty,
That a door
Was as wooden
As in England –
So he stood in his shoes
And he wonder’d,
He wonder’d,
He stood in his
Shoes and he wonder’d.

Preview the score:

  • 24 JUN 2007
    Lincoln Centre, New York, US
    Transient Glory Young People's Chorus
  • 29 APR 2006
    New York, USA
    Transient Glory Young People's Chorus
  • 29 APR 2006
    Going North World Premiere
    Ethical Culture Society, New York City
    Young People's Chorus of New York City
    Francisco J. Nuñez, conductor

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