My Cat Jeoffry

For: Choir
page one of My Cat Jeoffry

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My Cat Jeoffry


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Year of composition
Christopher Smart
Moderate (Grades 4-6)
3 minutes
Classical music
License details
For anything not permitted by the above licence then you should contact the publisher first to obtain permission.

This is an unaccompanied setting for SATB of words adapted from the "My Cat Jeoffry" section of Christopher Smart’s 18th-century poem "Jubilate Agno". The poem will be familiar to choir directors from the Britten setting "Rejoice in the Lamb," but I’ve used only a few of the same lines. The mood is both playfully humorous and devotional, suitable for a "Blessings of the Animals" service, for instance, as well as general performance. It is fun to sing and fun to listen to, generating audience chuckles at several key points.

The style is inspired by early American composers such as William Billings, featuring naive word-painting and contrasting duets, while breaking many rules of voice-leading. I’ve workshopped it with a small group of adult singers, and the only challenges are occasional difficulties in finding entrance notes, and a few tricky intervals in the bass. There are no challenges in terms of vocal range, and it is very suitable for older adults who may be losing the top of their range.

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