Down The Rabbit Hole

July 23, 2017 — 77 Comments

Down The Rabbit Hole- Cover Art

My third and final album from my time studying at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland is now available to download at Amazon and iTunes, or to listen to on all the streaming sites. It’s my attempt to fund my living costs for my second year of Masters of Music Performance in London (my 6th year of study).  You may remember George Todica and I dressing as Alice and the Mad Hatter from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland to get into character for the cover of our English Speaking and Song concept album.  Pascal Barnier used those photographs to imaginatively create the artwork that now hangs on my Mum’s office wall and is used on my ‘Down the Rabbit Hole’ album cover.

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All of the songs are classical English Art Songs and the spoken sections are prose and a monologue from Lewis Carroll’s ‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland’.  It’s quite bonkers and a bit ‘off the wall’ but I didn’t want to lose it, so we recorded it live last year.  ‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland’ by Lewis Carroll is the epitome of nonsense literature and fills our heads with imagination.

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The album is my reimagining of adventurous Alice exploring ‘down the rabbit hole’. Using the vast depth of English song repertoire full of wonderfully illustrative poetry and Lewis Carroll’s prose to rework the tale of one glorious golden afternoon’s adventure, where everything is imagined as the only weapon in the war against reality –with a philosophy of life to finish my program when a girl goes through that awkward stage of transition, imagined by her sister at the end of the book, and how she hoped Alice would keep, through all her riper years, the simple and loving heart of her childhood.  If you want to know more about what happened in Wonderland you will need to read the wonderful book.  I tried to tailor the songs to express my ideas and emotions about the start and end of Alice’s Adventure and in the words of the King of Heart’s ‘Begin at the beginning…and go on till you come to the end: then stop’.

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1. Sweet Chance That Led My Steps Abroad

‘Alice was beginning to get very tired of sitting by her sister on the bank, and having nothing to do: when suddenly a White Rabbit with pink eyes ran close by her’.  I selected Michael Head’s ‘Sweet Chance That Led My Steps Abroad’, using the poetry ‘A Great Time’ by W.H. Davies to create the scene.

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Punting In Cambridge

2.  A Piper

 Alice started to her feet, for it flashed across her mind that she had never before seen a rabbit with either a waistcoat-pocket, or a watch to take out of it, and, burning with curiosity, she ran across the field after it, and fortunately was just in time to see it pop down a large rabbit-hole under the hedge’.  I imagined the White Rabbit was rather like the Pied Piper leading Alice astray so follows ‘A Piper’ also by Michael Head from O’Sullivan poetry. It’s one of my favourite English songs.  

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3. Do Not Go My Love

“Why, how impolite of him. I asked him a civil question, and he pretended not to hear me. That’s not at all nice. I say, Mr. White Rabbit, where are you going? Hmmm. He won’t answer me and I do so want to know what he is late for, I wonder if I might follow him. Why not? There’s no rule that I mayn’t go where I please. I– I will follow him. Wait for me, Mr White Rabbit. I’m coming, too.”

Do Not Go My Love’ without asking my leave by Hageman with text by Tagore.  This is an English song I’ve sung for a couple of years and was included to represent the dreamlike fall into the unknown.

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4. Monologue

‘I wonder how many miles I’ve fallen by this time?  I must be getting somewhere near the centre of the earth…  I wonder if I will fall right through the earth! How funny that would be. Oh, I think I see the bottom.  Yes, I’m sure I see the bottom.  I shall hit the bottom, hit it very hard and oh how it will hurt!’

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5. Let the Florid Music Praise

At this moment, Five, who had been anxiously looking across the garden, called out “The Queen! The Queen!”, and the three gardeners instantly threw themselves flat upon their faces. There was a sound of many footsteps, and Alice looked round, eager to see the Queen…… “And who are these?” said the Queen, pointing to the three gardeners who were lying round the rose-tree; … How should I know? Said Alice, surprised at her own courage.  It’s no business of mine.”  The Queen turned crimson with fury, and, after glaring at her for a moment like a wild beast, screamed “Off with her head! Off___

Only one song could fit this moment of chaos at the end of the day ‘Let the Florid Music Praise’ by Benjamin Britten with the words of WH Auden.  I chose this dark humourous song because it’s so full of energy and excitement I think it fits that moment of panic, with a bold opening flutes and trumpets, imperial standards flying, hot sun raising temperatures.  The unloved Queen of Hearts with too much power.

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The three final songs were chosen from works by Roger Quilter (1877-1953).

6. Now Sleeps the Crimson Petal

“Wake up, Alice Dear! said her sister…why, what a long and lovely sleep you’ve had’.Now Sleeps the Crimson Petal’ now the white. The beautiful sonnet poetry of this song is by Lord Tennyson.  Tennyson discloses in this poem the stillness of the twilight, beautiful rest and stillness of sleep.  That time in sleep opens your heart and mind to new adventures with an emphasis on what you can see.

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7. Dream Valley

“Oh, I’ve had such a curious dream!” said Alice. And she told her sister, as well as she could remember them, all these strange adventures’.   Alice got up and ran off, thinking while she ran, as well she might, what a wonderful dream it had been. Memory, hither come, begins Dream Valley’ with words by Blake .  Lewis Carroll’s adventures included: happy and sad tales with lots of morals.

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8. Love’s Philosophy

Lastly, her sister sat still just as she left her… till she too began dreaming after a fashion:

‘As Alice remembered her dream, her sister, …. pictured to herself how this same little sister of hers would, in the after-time, be herself a grown woman… ‘.  ‘Loves Philosophy’ with poetry by Shelley that describes how different parts of nature interact and depend upon one another and is a classic story of unrequited love using natural imagery.

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I was very fortunate to have George Todica as my accompanist, he has now completed his Master’s degree in Piano at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and is undertaking several large competitions this year to launch his career; he also has an engagement next year ( 2018 ) at The Wigmore Hall, London.

77 responses to Down The Rabbit Hole

  1. 

    Excellent, Charlotte. Loved the photos.

  2. 

    Hi Charlotte, this concept recording and the art work that goes with it, look to me as something out of the ordinary, and very interesting. Were I over there I would buy it immediately, but being here with Rands and not Pounds it is not possible, but I must commend you on this undertaking, and hope that you can maybe do more work with George. I think your baby opera sounds unusual, brave and very interesting. Keep up the exiting work, best wishes and many blessings, Charles.

    • 

      Hello Charles, I’m really pleased that you enjoyed the idea of ‘Down the Rabbit Hole’ it was a lot of fun to plan, prepare and record. If you can use Spotify there you can listen to the recording using the streaming service if you get some time.

      George and I have a couple of projects coming up in the Autumn which I am really looking forward to!
      Best Wishes,
      Charlotte

      • 

        Hi Charlotte, I seem to have missed this reply somehow.I hope the Edinburgh festival goes well, and that the new academic year goes well starting soon I think. I have tried spotify before but it does not seem to be available out here, but will try again.

      • 

        No problem Charles, I must check out my spam file it’s been a month or so since I last had time to do so.

  3. 

    Love this! Much success to both you and George.

    • 

      Thank you so much, Karen, I was just thinking that your ‘Makeshift Chorus’ artwork would make a beautiful print for a concert dress appropriate for Alice.
      Best Wishes,
      Charlotte

  4. 

    Amazing, dear Charlotte! Alice’s image fits your perfectly! And what an extraordinary ay to present Lewis Carol’s most famous book! Great! 🙂

    • 

      Hello, Maria, you have made my day! I really enjoyed creating the outfit from borrowed items and from vintage stores. It really is a wonderful book which has so many quotes to uplift any mood.
      Best Wishes,
      Charlotte

  5. 

    This is wonderful! True tis Love that makes the world goes round! Best Wishes to George too. He is so talented, he will do well! When do you sleep?

    • 

      It certainly does, we have to keep shining and encourage happiness. George graduated with a Masters degree this summer from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland so I wish him the very best towards the next stage of his career!
      Best Wishes,
      Charlotte

  6. 

    These look like a wonderful work you have done! Best wishes..

  7. 

    This looks and sounds to be something to be immensely proud of, and also something very hard to top. Sometimes, you sense that from a project. My respect for you keeps going up in leaps and bounds. I’m so glad you visited my blog all those years ago.

    • 

      Thank you, Martin, for your thoughtful comment. I have built up many friendships through my blog over the years and count you amongst them. It was tremendous fun to put this project together and I felt like a Disney Princess as we walked through botanical gardens in Glasgow dressed up in our costumes. We had several children with their parents who stopped us to have photos taken 🙂
      Best Wishes,
      Charlotte

  8. 

    If your music is as fabulous as these pictures today, it will surely fund your second year and more!
    I also loved the Lewis Carroll quote…best wishes…

    • 

      Hello, Sheila, I’m really glad that you liked the pictures! I am so grateful for the help towards my Master’s tuition, it would be such a wonderful bonus for this fun project.
      Best Wishes,
      Charlotte

  9. 

    Sounds like a wonderful project. The pictures are great. I’ll try to check it out. Good luck!

    • 

      Hi Trent, I’m so pleased that you enjoyed the blog post, I hope that if you get the chance to listen to the album that you enjoy it. ‘Down the Rabbit Hole’ was such good fun to put together. Thank you for your lovely comment.
      Best Wishes,
      Charlotte

  10. 

    How wonderful and delightful a concept, Charlotte! Clever, clever lady! And what fun to do! A really eye catching and fun post!

    • 

      Hello Noelle, thank you so much for your lovely comment. I really enjoyed creating this album, from selecting the musical pieces to the quirky quotes from the book, and most of all I got to dress as Alice for the pictures.
      Best Wishes,
      Charlotte

  11. 

    Dear Charlotte,
    I like the way you and George looked in Alice and Wonderland. Bravo on your new acting career. May the Lord bless you richly my beloved.

  12. 
    amritpal Singh July 24, 2017 at 4:58 am

    Beautiful ji

  13. 

    Absolutely fantastic Charlotte, I’ve bought the album and you truly bring Alice to life! I love it. Congratulations on yet another brilliant album, and I wish George lots of luck for his competitions. 👏👏✨

    • 

      Hello Gill, thank you so much for getting the album, I hope you enjoy listening to it. I will pass on your kind thoughts to George and join you by crossing my fingers for his success to.
      Best Wishes,
      Charlotte

  14. 

    That’s wonderful, Charlotte. Downloaded. My day is complete!

    • 

      Thanks a million Marcus, I read your review on Amazon which made my day. I am so grateful for your friendship and constant support and knowing that you enjoy my music makes me work just that little bit harder 🙂 Have a wonderful week.
      Best wishes
      Charlotte

  15. 

    Don’t you look adorable in the Lewis Carroll land of fantasy! Who ever decided to pair up you and George had a stroke of genius! Now- to go on over to Amazon!!

    • 

      Hello GP, thank you and I do hope that when you get the chance to listen to the album that it brings a smile to your face 🙂 I was very lucky that the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland paired us up for the Kathleen Ferrier Bursary competition in 2013! which I think is around the time that we first bumped into each other through our blogs.
      Best Wishes,
      Charlotte

      • 

        I think you’re right about the date we first started reading [and listening] to each other’s site. You’ve given me many days of listening enjoyment!!

  16. 

    Many heartfelt wishes for fabulous success with this new album!

  17. 

    Your new album sounds amazing Charlotte! Love the concept and I’m looking forward to listening to your thoughtful choices in re-imagining Alice’s adventures through song. The poetry choices you picked out are some of the most divine.

    • 

      Thank you very much for your kind and encouraging words, I hope you enjoy listening to the album. It was so much fun reading the book and selecting moments that I wanted to use. Practicing the different character voices was really fun too!
      Best Wishes,
      Charlotte

  18. 

    Will look this album up. It sounds interesting! Love the pictures of you aa Alice. It’s always good to dress up 😁 x

    • 

      I completely agree about dressing up Christine. My older brother throws fantastic themed costume parties and I adore picking out what I will wear for them. I hope you enjoy listening to the album.
      Best Wishes,
      Charlotte

  19. 

    Wonderful! As soon as I get home I will purchase your album, Charlotte. (We are away on holiday at the moment). Congratulations to George! I will certainly look out for him in the future and go to listen to him in concert if I can.

  20. 

    Amazing and enjoyable.

  21. 

    Congratulations on Album No.3 I’m not very familiar with “Alice in Wonderland.” I haven’t seen it in so long. Hmm. And I don’t remember Alice singing in that role. SO I have a completely biased Request. You should play the part of Princess Aurora. Not only is “Sleeping Beauty” the bestest Disney film of all time, her character is known for having a beautiful singing voice. It’s perfect! But if your dress randomly changes from blue to pink, don’t worry. I think it’s supposed to do that. 🙂

    • 

      Eric, this comment made me virtually burst with Happiness! Princess Aurora is my absolute favourite Disney character and the music from the animated film Sleeping Beauty is just wonderful. Perhaps I should do a recital themed on this fairy tale too. Now a dress that changed colours would be very magical!

      I must admit that Alice in Wonderland was my favourite book as child so it was very fun to adapt.

      Best Wishes,
      Charlotte

    • 

      Thank you Hilary, this was such an amazing project to work on and I do hope that I get the chance to extend it in the future. I think that it would make a great way to introduce some of the wonderful English Songs to a young audience in an innovative way. I hope that you enjoy the album and that it makes you smile.
      Best wishes
      Charlotte

  22. 

    Loved this post and all the creative and beautiful pictures! Best of luck with the album! 😘🤗

  23. 

    Very proud of you and George my friend ! All the best for you !

  24. 

    Brilliant Charlotte.
    Absolutely love the photos they are amazing,
    Loved listening to the album, it was nice to hear you singing in English,brava xx

    • 

      Thank you so much! I’m so happy to hear that you enjoyed listening to the album. It is a real treat to sing English Songs as I can get a direct connection to the poetry.
      Best Wishes,
      Charlotte

  25. 

    Beautiful work❣️Thanks for sharing.

  26. 

    Oh, wow, who better than you to play Alice. I absolutely love the imaginative photographs and the costuming, sets, etc. And who still thinks opera is only for a select audience? Everyone can enjoy it, the way you present it, Charlotte. I wish you would bring it to LA or San Diego so I could take Annabelle and Kevin to see you perform.

  27. 

    My goodness, could they have cast Alice any better?

  28. 

    Brilliant. Particularly for a great admirer of Carroll and Alice.

  29. 
    Feminism Through Cinema and Literature August 2, 2017 at 9:55 am

    Great post, and great outfit! I love Alice in Wonderland! There is just so much going on in the books. What I find most interesting, is the Victorian anxieties that permeate the texts. Whether it be education, class, Darwinism or female oppression- the ideas surrounding the story are just as riveting as the story itself. I recently wrote a post on the female condition in both Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass. It is called ‘Girlhood Interrupted: Identity, Femininity and Anxiety in the ‘Alice’ books’. In it I look at how Alice seems to reject am imposed form of identity- that of a distinctively female one. A key moment is the baby and the pig!

    Really nice blog.

    • 

      I got the dress from a fabulous vintage shop in Glasgow, I’d love to extend the program to find English songs to fit some of the adventures in Wonderland, there must be one relating to tea ☕️😀. I’ll pop over and read your blog about it, I’m about to do a module about women in music. Thank you and best wishes
      Charlotte 🌸

  30. 

    Best wishes with your third album. Alice in Wonderland – classic!
    Warmest regards,
    PM

  31. 

    Interesting narrative you have out there. Anand Bose from Kerala

  32. 

    I love this narrative. Anand Bose from Kerala

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