Oranges and Lemons

Trevor Grahl

Oranges and Lemons has been performed in Montréal…

“Oranges and Lemons,” say the bells of St Clement’s
You owe me three farthings” say the bells of St Martin’s”…

And so on. Most people know Oranges and Lemons as an English nursery rhyme or song most likely originating in either the 17th or 18th centuries (though it also happens to be the name of a Filipino rock band, and is frequently alluded to in many works of culture: the rhyme’s structural importance in Orwell’s novel 1984 cannot be ignored). During my youth, I frequently took part in performances of this rhyme, either as a class activity in pre-school or in elementary school as a chorister. Many years later, while acting as the school’s accompanist, I was struck by the sharp contrast and the pointed funnel-like progression of the text, ultimately leading to a grim and startling end: “Here comes candle to light you to bed / Here comes a chopper to chop off your head”. I took this rather gradual and yet sudden change of events as the inspiration for my piece. Due to the rather bizarre instrumentation featuring among other things, melodica, alarm clock and klaxon horn, and the connotations that these instruments usually have, the surface of the piece has the potential to sound rather quirky, humorous, and light hearted, silly even — just like the opening lines of the rhyme. It goes without saying that a rather sudden, yet somehow gradual change of events brought about in the music accords in a rather foreboding manner with that of the poetry.

[source: Réseaux des arts médiatiques]


Oranges and Lemons

  • Trevor Grahl
  • Year of composition: 2006
  • Duration: 7:30
  • Instrumentation: melodica, percussion and processing


30 Nove 2007
8:00 pm
In person
Montréal (Québec)