Lewis Carroll’s crazy conundrums lured Holly Harrison down the rabbit hole in a new chamber work written for Eighth Blackbird.

A large amount of my work has been inspired by Lewis Carroll’s nonsense books Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland(1865) and Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There(1871). My most recent piece Lobster Tales and Turtle Soupdraws inspiration from chapters nine and ten of Wonderland, The Mock Turtle’s Storyand The Lobster Quadrille.

Along with Alice (of course!), the main characters in these chapters are the Gryphon and the Mock Turtle. Both creatures are composites of two animals: the Gryphon – the head and wings of an eagle, and the body and tail of a lion, and the Mock Turtle – the head, hooves and tail of a cow, and the body and flippers of a turtle. These chimera characters resonate with the style of the piece, which I see as an amalgam of multiple genres: rock, jazz, hip-hop, metal, pop, blues and funk. For me, the Gryphon and Mock Turtle are physical manifestations of Carroll’s famous portmanteau words, where two words are packed upas one.

The Gryphon and the Mock Turtle continually scold Alice, start stories and...

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