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Mary Had a Big Boat (performance scores) - BSN/CBSN

Composer: Banzhoff, Drew

Publisher: TrevCo

Edition: 71866


Mary Had a Big Boat (performance scores)

for bassoon and contrabassoon

by Drew Banzhoff - American composer


A short, comical piece that illustrates the classic nursery rhyme character on a new adventure. The first movement was written as an assignment for an orchestration class, and the other four movements were written two years later, with the intention of expanding the music into a longer work that tells a story.

What is the story? Original, bizarre, odd, and simply a label for the strange music that became “Mary Had a Big Boat.” The work is in five short movements:

I. Strut to the Harbor: Mary trots with her animal friends to the harbor to board her latest project: an upgrade from a “little lamb.”

II. Boarding the Big Boat: The boat blows its horn, signaling the crew to board. Mary gets to work, swabbing the deck, and an unusual amount of fowl: everything from chickens to turkey to pigeons, prove to be a continual nuisance on the boat.

III. Dance on the Deck: Mary decides to do something about the feathered fiends, and begins to dance and chase the birds away with her mop.

IV. Out on the Water: Late that night, Mary sleeps. The water is calm, ominous, dark and deep. The only sounds present are the horns of passing boats, although one seems to be passing quite close...

V. “Mary-Go-Drown”: A play on the word(s) “merry-go-round,” seemingly one of the boats got too close, and a collision occurs. Mary’s boat begins to fill with swirling water and starts to sink. The remaining fowl on the boat begin to scream and bawk as they go down with the ship. But then they remember their wings, and as a large flock, lift off the boat and hover in the air. They look down upon Mary, mocking her one final time before she is swallowed by the dark deep, along with her big boat.

-Drew Banzhoff
Mary Had a Big Boat, Op. 12, No. 2 (2019, 2021)

Duration: Approx. 9-10 minutes