Optional Bonus Challenge: Listen to the piece first before you read the rest of this post. (It’s less than 5 minutes long and you know your poor eyes could use a break!) While you’re listening, imagine who the characters might be and what they might be doing if the music was a film score to a book you’ve read. It could be Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland or a different book– entirely up to you! Then you can read what I imagined below and compare the two stories (and comment letting me know how they ended up being similar or different!!).
Again, totally optional. And now without further ado:
The opening music sounds very innocent and carefree– like Alice’s innocent, carefree attitude. So I decided to explore Lewis Carroll’s story in the music!
Brief downward-moving and slower parts show her falling down the rabbit hole, only to return to her carefree curiosity. (After all, a talking rabbit is completely normal to her!) This time she is more joyful and soaringly carefree as she discovers where she is: the mysterious hall of doors…
She cries quite tragically for a long time when she discovers that she cannot get into the garden (resulting in the pool of tears), but she suddenly stops because she notices the drink that will get her in.
Once she is in, all is well again. The opening is repeated (naïve joy to down the rabbit hole to naïve joy). This time, I hear the rabbit-hole part as simply representative of the different weird, unexpected things that happen to her in Wonderland (like seeing a baby turn into a pig, etc.). She’s just not concerned, but instead revels in Wonderland’s oddities.
The piece ends on a thoughtful and solid note, compactly closing the piece’s commentary on Alice. She has been shown to be a naively joyful girl who is not affected by much of anything but rather indulges in whims.
This is only one possible hearing of the music, of course. Do you hear Alice’s adventures in this piece? Don’t forget to tell me about your interpretation in the comments!
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Classical Music Stories: Alice in Wonderland (the first)