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Edward Lear Home Page

Edward Lear and Music

This page was inspired by one about musical arrangements of Lewis Carroll's works.

Lear's Own Music

Beside the music for two of his own Laughable Lyrics, The Courtship of the Yonghy-Bonghy-B, and The Pelican Chorus, Lear published two books of arrangements of Alfred Tennyson's poems: Robert Tear's performance of these, was published in a 1984 album entitled Tears, Idle Tears; the cassette version, published by Cabaletta Recording the same year (TCDN 5004) contains the following arrangements:

Edward Gray
Tears, Idle Tears
A Farewell
Sweet and Low
Home They Brought Her Warrior Dead
As through the Land
Come Not When I am Dead
O Let the Solid Ground
The Time Draws Near the Birth of Christ

Recitals of Lear's Poems, Songs and Stories

Nonsense Verse of Carroll and Lear, read by Beatrice Lillie, Cyril Ritchard, Stanley Holloway,
Cadmon Literary Series, LP, TC 1078, 1957.

The Nonsense Songs of Edward Lear Read by David Davis,
Delysé, 45RPM, DEL 158, 1966.
The Daddy Long-Legs & the Fly, The Broom, the Shovel, the Poker & the Tongs, The Courtship of the Yonghy-Bonghy-Bò.

The Owl and the Pussycat. The Jolly Nonsense of Edward Lear in Story, Song & Poetry,
Sunset Records (Talespinners for Children), LP, Stereo UAC11078.

Edward Lear's Nonsense Stories and Poems, read by Claire Bloom,
Caedmon Children's Classics, LP, TCp 1279, 1970.
Includes a booklet with the illustrated texts: The History of the Seven Families of the Lake Pipple-Popple, Incidents in the Life of My Uncle Arly, The Story of the Four Little Children Who Went Round the World, The Quangle Wangle's Hat.

People Past and Present: Edward Lear, devised and presented by Charles Lewsen,
Recorded live at the National Portrait Gallery, London,
Argo, LP, ZPL 1163, 1971.

Uttered Nonsense (The Owl and the Pussycat),
Words: Edward Lear, Music: John Sangster, Spoken: Ivan Smith,
Rainforest Records (Australia), 2LP, RF LP001, 1980.
The music is instrumental Nonsense (?) jazz, all tracks with titles taken from Lear; a number of poems are recited by I. Smith.

The Owl and the Pussycat, written and performed by Eric Idle, based on the poems, drawings, and writings of Edward Lear,
Music and Lyrics Composed by Eric Idle and John Duprez,
Dove Music, 2 CDs, 1997.

Arrangements of Lear's Poems

Apthorp, William F., The Owl and the Pussy-Cat,
Boston, Carl Prüfer, 1878.

Ingraham, Geo., The Owl and the Pussycat,
New York, G. Schirmer, 1886.
See the Lester S. Levy Collection of Sheet Music images.

Lear's Nonsense Songs, Music by H.W. Cardew,
vol. I: The Owl and the Pussy-cat and Other Songs
vol. II: The Quangle Wangle's Hat and Other Songs
London, The Vincent Music Company Ltd., [each song is H.W. Cardew 1901].

Margaret Ruthven Lang, Nonsense Rhymes and Pictures by Edward Lear Set to Music,
vol. 1: op. 42, Leipzig, Arthur P. Schmidt, 1905;
vol. 2: op. 43, Leipzig, Arthur P. Schmidt, 1907;
both volumes bound into one in the edition I have.

Nonsense Songs by Edward Lear, Set to Music by Dudley Glass,
London, Frederick Warne & Co..

Song for Children. No. 5. The Owl and the Pussy-Cat, music by Mrs. J. Worthington Bliss (Miss Lindsay),
London, Lamborn Cock.
See the Lester S. Levy Collection of Sheet Music images.

Calico Pie, words by Edward Lear, music by Arthur Farwell,
ms. score in Library of Congress, 1927.

Hely-Hutchinson cover

Three Nonsense Songs, words by Edward Lear set to music by Victor Hely-Hutchinson, London, Paterson's Publications, [ 1927]. (Includes: The Owl and the Pussy-cat, The Table and the Chair, The Duck and the Kangaroo. Many thanks to Mr Roderick Thomson for sending me the score and information about Hely-Hutchinson). V. Hely-Hutchinson also seems to have composed a 'missing' The Dong with the Luminous Nose for orchestra and choir. He has also arranged several poems by Carroll, Kipling and de la Mare (see list of works).

Searle, Humphrey, The owl and the pussy-cat: for speaker, flute, cello, and guitar,
London-New York, Oxford University Press, c1953.

Birch, Robert Fairfax, The Owl and the Pussy Cat,
copyright 1953 by R.F. Birch.

Hageman, Richard, The Owl and the Pussy-Cat,
copyright 1955 by Galaxy Music Corporation.

Stravinsky, Igor, The Owl and the Pussycat (1966)
London, Boosey & Hawkes, 1967.

Westergaard, Peter, Mr. and Mrs. Discobbolos, chamber opera after the poem by Edward Lear (1966)
New York, Broude, c1968.

Westergaard, Peter, Divertimento on Discobbolic Fragments (1967)

Clinton, Elliott, The owl and the pussy-cat: for women's voices (SSAA) and piano
New York, MCA Music, 1967.

Orr, Buxton, The Ballad of Mr & Mrs Discobbolos for Tenor and Piano (1970)
London, Anglo-Continental Music Co.; Adliswil, Edition Eulenburg, 1973.

Bush, Geoffrey, Seven limericks, for two part choir & small orchestra
London, Novello, 1970.

Roxburgh, Edwin, How pleasant to know Mr. Lear, for narrator and orchestra
London, United Music Publishers [c1972].

Gerhard, Roberto, The Akond of Swat : for voice and percussion
London, Oxford University Press, 1975.

Hanna, Ron, Mister Lear for SATB and Brass Quartet, 1975 or 1980.

Petrassi, Goffredo, Sesto non-senso: per coro misto a cappella...,
da The Book of nonsense di Edward Lear / traduzione di Carlo Izzo
Milano, Suvini Zerboni, 1976.

Thomson, Virgil, Cantata on poems of Edward Lear : for four-part chorus of mixed voices with soprano and baritone solos and piano accompaniment,
New York, G. Schirmer, c1976.

Thomson, Virgil, Cantata on Poems of Edward Lear for 2 sopranos, 2 baritones, chorus and orch.

Kirkwood, Antoinette, The Akond of Swat op. 20 No. 1 for Soprano - Tenor with Guitar or Piano accompaniment.

Kirkwood, Antoinette, The Cummerbund op. 20. No. 3 for Soprano - Tenor with Guitar or Piano accompaniment.

Forsyth, Malcolm, The Dong with a Luminous Nose. Mezzo-soprano, viola and piano, 1979
Commissioned by Maureen Forrester and the Canadian Music Centre.

Beamish, Sally, Mr & Mrs Discobollos, for narrator, clarinet, violin, viola, cello or bass, and piano, 1983.

Walker, Allan, A scene from Edward Lear : for 2 choral groups and solo flute
Grosvenor Place, N.S.W., Reproduced and distributed by Australian Music Centre, 1986.

Thorn, Benjamin, The pobble: for SATB choir
words, Edward Lear; music, Benjamin Thorn. 1988.

Hill, Freddie, The Owl and the Pussycat for Voice and Doublebass Grosvenor Place, N.S.W., Reproduced and distributed by the Australian Music Centre, 1991.

Mathias, William, Learsongs: settings of Edward Lear for soprano and alto chorus and piano duet
Oxford-New York, Oxford University Press, c1992.

Buhr, Glenn, The Jumblies for soprano and orchestra
performed by the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra with Tracy Dahl in Winter Poems CD, CBC SMCD 5184, 1999.
Also on Glenn Buhr.

Thorn, Benjamin, Three sea glitches: for voice and piano (baritone version)
words Edward Lear; music Benjamin Thorn. - 1995 [s.l.] : Benjamin Thorn, c1995.

Thorn, Benjamin, Three sea glitches: for voice and piano (mezzo soprano version)
words Edward Lear; music Benjamin Thorn. - 1995 [s.l.] : Benjamin Thorn, c1995.

Somers, Harry, The Owl and the Pussy-cat, for Soprano, Mezzo-soprano, Tenor and Piano
Jaymar Music (Catalogue # 02.210).

Jim Theobald has a number of Lear poems among his compositions, including The Quangle Wangle's Hat, The Owl and the Pussycat, The Pelican Chorus and The Courtship of the Yonghy-Bonghy-Bo; visit Jim's Home Page for details.

Craton, John, The Owl and the Pussycat
MIDI file available from the page.

Joyce Bee Tuan Koh, Green Pig, Broken Twigs for young people's chorus and youth orchestra, 1996
(A collection of nine limericks plus The Table and the Chair.)

Jim's Big Ego, a rock band, have a version of The Jumblies in their CD Don't Get Smart (1998). You can hear about one minute of music from the song.

Thomas, Richard Pearson, A Little Nonsense, songs to texts of Edward Lear for soprano
self-published, NY. (Includes: The Pobble Who Has No Toes, Calico Pie, The Owl and the Pussy-cat. A cassette with a performance of the songs by soprano Karen Beardsley and the composer at the piano is also available.)

Boykan, Marty, The Owl and the Pussy-cat, part of A Packet for Susan (2000)
in Flume — Selected Chamber Works, Composers' Recordings Inc., CD 897.

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