This cycle of nonsense-settings grew out of another such piece written in 1977 for the same forces. But while the Nursery Rhymes (op.33a) are predominately cheerful with only a touch of the sinister, Conundrums is predominantly sinister (though of the nursery-variety of course). All its texts are puzzlers or teasers; from the guileless naming-game with baby’s face in the first setting, through the long ordeals for true love in the unaccompanied ballad of the Cambric Shirt, and the surrealistic gruesomeness of the Man of Double Deed, out into the finale, which interweaves several rhymes with the dancing strains from the overture. The words and the music end together on a ?
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