The Nash Menagerie

A set of seven songs for countertenor or mezzo-soprano and piano, using texts by Ogden Nash; premiered by countertenor David Walker and pianist Timothy Hoekman at Glimmerglass Opera, Cooperstown, NY, 1996.

"Hoekman is a clever and able composer. Based on Ogden Nash's animal verse, Hoekman chose seven creatures and musically realized their salient qualities with interesting and difficult lines." - The Daily Gazette (Schenectady, NY)

"Piquant but tonal, the music indulged in word painting no less appealing for its obviousness. There were gobbles for the turkey, murky ruminations for the hippopotamus, hip-hop things for the kangaroo, buzzings for the fly." - Kansas City Star

"The final set of Nash poems was a pure delight, sharp and humorous, precisely balanced between singer and pianist. A martial melody escorts ‘The Wombat,’ theatrical chords accompany ‘The Turkey,’ and dissonance introduces ‘The Hippopotamus.’ ‘The Kangaroo’ bounces, ‘The Fly’ takes off with an aria, ‘The Caterpillar’ crawls to a ‘speechless, songless, whistleless’ halt, and ‘The Germ’ with its ‘strange diseases’ explodes into high opera. So much fun with music!" - Times Herald-Record

"The vocal lines contain a veritable encyclopedia of vocal and musical challenges: both conjunct and disjunct extremes of motion; chromatic, melismatic, and wide-leap movement; abundant tone painting; free melismatic passages; Baroque-style ornamentation; and many rhythmic divisions and accidentals. The piano parts are built of musical motives that express the character of the animals portrayed and rhythmic structures that reflect their physical motion. . . . This is a wonderfully humorous set of songs . . . ." - Journal of Singing

Range: F3-G5
Duration: 13 minutes

1. The Wombat


2. The Turkey


3. The Hippopotamus


4. The Kangaroo


5. The Fly


6. The Caterpillar


7. The Germ