Music by

PROGRAM NOTES by the composer
The Day Things Went Wrong at the Pet Store  - 11 Cartoons for Piano

In Spring & Summer 1976, I wrote 6 preludes for Fender Rhodes electric piano. Two of these got shelved soon after. Over the next few years, more preludes were composed, and the cartoon titles got added.

Howard Pollack (who later wrote the great book on Copland) premiered many of these on my senior recital at Cornell in April 1978, and composer James Primosch premiered the rest in Philadelphia on April Fools Day 1979 while we were graduate students at Univ. of Pennsylvania. 

Over the next few years, teachers, friends, and publishers worked at talking me out of these silly titles, and I eventually regrouped them into two tamer-sounding suites, titled Four Idylls and Six Dances. I've always preferred the more colorful titles, which don't always have a profound relation to the music itself, and in 2003 I decided to restore the original suite and original titles; the final restored suite is now published by Tenuto Publications (c/o Presser).

The world premiere of the complete suite was given on February 25, 2007 by Sheryl Lee, at Carnegie Hall.

1. A Hummingbird Hides on the Ceiling 
2. Kissing Gouramis Get Chapped Lips 
3. An Inchworm Converts to Metric 
4. The Melancholy Collie (Lassie Sings the Blues) 
5. A Tortoise Drinks Decaf and Falls Asleep 
6. Centipedes Dance a Sarabande 
7. A Color-blind Peacock Suffers Through Mating Season 
8. Two Moths Fight Over an Old Flame 
9. A Worm with Two Broken Hearts 
10. An Injured Gerbil Goes to the Re-tail Store 
11. Two Porcupines Try to Cuddle

MVT 2: bar 21 needs a 2/4 time signature.
MVT 2: 3 bars before "tailing off," LH should be F:C:Eb (same as bar 14).
MVT 2: It is fine to delete the last two bars.
MVT 5: Ignore the stray slurs around bar 11 (which should have printed as slashes through the following grace notes)
MVT 8: Ignore the stray slur before bar 15 (which should have printed as a slash through the following grace notes)

last updated February 20, 2020