"Pop-Pourri is a kind of Cantata of the Sacred and Profane, with two elements mingled on many levels: the 'crazy' Alice in Wonderland texts next to the sacrosanct Litany of the Blessed Virgin and Chorale; the amplification and 'Rock' instruments beside the unamplified 'normal' orchestra; sections of tonality, juxtaposed to quasi-tonal and atonal materials. Beneath these glaringly contrasting elements lie a number of similarities, both dramatic and musical, and these serve to bind the piece together. Indeed, the juxtaposition of 'external' violent contrasts with 'internal' close connections was one of the generative ideas for the piece.
"Turtle Soup I, a setting of text from Alice in Wonderland, is scored for the soprano and 'rock group' only. It plays obsessively on the opening notes of the Chorale and fades eventually into the Litany for chorus and orchestra alone. Jabberwocky, the longest movement, is a setting of a poem from Carroll's Through the Looking Glass, and combines the solo soprano and 'rock group' with the orchestra. I call it a 'Melodrama', and had in mind all the old silent movies I had seen, where each element of the story, each emotion, is spelled out as graphically as possible. The rock group becomes the personification of Carroll's terrifying Jabberwock, and each event of the tale — from the father's early warning to his son, through the climactic battle with the Jabberwock, to the son's final victory — is mirrored programmatically in the music. Turtle Soup II is a rather strange da capo of Turtle Soup I. The solo soprano, saxophones and electric guitar play their music once more, only this time it is all backwards; simultaneously Turtle Soup I is heard in its original version, played by the orchestra. In good liturgical fashion, I use the Bach chorale in its entirety as the work's concluding section, with occasional gusts of Turtle Soup blowing over the sacred scene, producing a kind of 'when-worlds-collide' effect."
Del Tredici's first Alice in Wonderland work (1968). Features soprano solo, rock band and orchestra. David Alan Miller conducts the Albany Symphony in a special performance at EMPAC at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute on 1 Jun 2019. Details forthcoming.