Music, School of


Date of this Version

January 2008


Fl., Cl., Bn., Narrator Mexico City Blues: Part Five features poems using “nonsense”, made-up words reflecting to some extent jazz scat, dada/surrealist automatic writing as well as neologisms ala James Joyce’s Finnegans Wake. The overall mood of this grouping suggests humor sliced with large amounts of bewilderment/cynicism. The two principal movements, Glossolalia and Xenoglossy (speaking in tongues ) are separated by two short interludes: Harvest Moon Interlude, based on the song, “Shine On Harvest Moon” quoted in the bassoon (followed by its inversion) that held particular symbolism for Kerouac, and Pastoral Interlude which imitates sheep braying. One interesting moment occurs at the end of Xenoglossy when the ensemble chants the name “Hoot Gibson”. Gibson, (Edmund Richard Gibson, b. 1892 in Tekamah, NE) was a favorite cowboy film star of Kerouac. Unlike most of the poems which were written rather quickly, the Postlude consists of 19 seemingly disconnected lines, each purposely written an hour apart, ending the piece on a somewhat unsatisfying note.

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