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Clyne, AnnaSpangled Unicorn (2011) 10'
for brass ensemble and tape (optional)


This work requires additional technological components and/or amplification.
Abbreviations (PDF).

This work is available from Boosey & Hawkes for the world.

World Premiere
Symphony Center, Chicago, IL
Chicago Symphony MusicNOW

Composer's Notes  
Spangled Unicorn is composed for brass ensemble and an optional tape introduction. The primary inspiration was the powerhouse brass section of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, who premiered the work in 2011, and whose unique sound I have become familiar with through my residency with the CSO. I also saw this as an opportunity to take a stab at writing for such an ensemble for the first time. Spangled Unicorn takes its title from Noel Coward's amusing satirical anthology of poetry by such authors as Crispin Pither and Jane Southerby Danks. The book, or more to the point the title of the book, caught my eye at the Myopic Bookstore in Chicago's Wicker Park. I scooped it up, but alas, none of the poems made even the slightest of references to a unicorn of a spangly nature. So, I instead turned to the young writers Helena McBurney (age 11) and Charlotte McBurney (age 9) who created their very own stories about this magical beast. I then spliced their two stories and reassembled them to form one story, which is below.

Spangled Unicorn
— Helena McBurney and Charlotte McBurney

Once upon a time in a faraway village there lived a girl named Anya. She adored holidays when they hung up decorations, but she always had a spangled sparkly unicorn by her bedside table.

One night it started to grow. It grew and grew until it was the size of a horse!

Anya climbed out of bed and the Unicorn said, “You are a fairy.” And the Unicorn was indeed right. She seemed to have grown a pair of wings made of silk so fine that even the daintiest of spiders could not have spun.

Anya looked up again and the Unicorn said, “Climb on my back!” so she leaped on, and the Unicorn soared out of the window. She looked down on her village and asked the Unicorn where they were going. The Unicorn said, “Shut your eyes, and we will be there.” So she did.

And a minute later, when she opened her eyes, she was in Chocoville, an enchanted forest filled with sweets galore, with twirly-swirly gumdrops and lollipop trees. She asked the Unicorn what they would do now. “Eat all you want!” came the reply.

Anya started eating all that she could. When she turned around, she saw that the Unicorn’s horn had gotten stuck in a lollipop tree trunk. No! It couldn’t be! The wicked witch of Sweetiland!

Hundreds of goblins jumped out of all the lollipop trees and started shaking her. Suddenly, the Unicorn—Spangled Unicorn—was a tiny ornament again.

She put him in her pocket and wondered how she would get out. She jumped in the air and flew right back to her bed!

Then she put the unicorn back and drifted off to sleep to dream of the adventure she had had.

— Anna Clyne

Reproduction Rights:
This program note may be reproduced free of charge in concert programs with a credit to the composer.

Press Quotes  
"Typical of Clyne’s music, Spangled Unicorn packs a lot into just 11 minutes … Well-crafted, virtuosic and written with great flair and a quirky off-center humor, Spangled Unicorn is fully characteristic of Clyne’s engaging and distinctive style."
— Lawrence A. Johnson, Chicago Classical Review

News stories for this title :

Chicago Symphony Orchestra to Perform Two Works by Anna Clyne in Chicago and New York

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