How To Swing Those Obbligatos Around

"How To Swing Those Obbligatos Around" is the second song in William Bolcom's cycle I Will Breathe a Mountain, which sets the poetry of several American women poets. The cycle is for mezzo-soprano and piano.

The audio recording of "How To Swing Those Obbligatos Around" is made possible through a collaboration between the Hampsong Foundation and SongFest. The performers are the Marc and Eva Stern SongFest 2012 Fellow, Kate Tombaugh, mezzo-soprano, and Bobby Pace, piano, and the performance took place at SongFest 2012 at The Colburn School.

Date: 1991Composer: William BolcomText: Alice FultonSong Collection: I Will Breathe a Mountain

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    How To Swing Those Obbligatos Around
    by Alice Fulton

    How To Swing Those Obbligatos Around

    He had shag hair & a boutique.
    In the bar he told me I had too much class
    to be a telephone operator & I told him
    he should have been thirty in 1940:
    a gangster with patent leather shoes
    to shine under girl’s skirts & a mother
    who called him sonny. He should have
    crashed a club where they catered
    to the smart set, disposing of
    the bouncer with You spent three months
    in a plaster cast the last time
    you tangled with me & I should have been
    the singer in tight champagne
    skin waiting for him to growl
    I don’t know how to begin
    this beguine but you certainly know how to
    swing those obbligatos around & we
    would fox-trot till a guy
    he knew from Sing Sing cut in.
    & he said he loved old flicks
    I should come up to his place & see
    the art deco ashtrays on his shag rug
    that I shouldn’t waste myself
    at Bell tel but marry him
    & take his business calls &
    I said How many years do you get
    if they give you life

    Related Information


    Sheet Music

    I Will Breathe a Mountain

    Composer(s): William Bolcom

    Song(s): 1. Pity Me Not Because the Light of Day
    2. How To Swing Those Obbligatos Around
    3. The Crazy Woman
    4. Just Once Text: Anne Sexton
    5. Never More Will The Wind
    6. The Sage Text: Denise Levertov
    7. O To Be a Dragon
    8. The Bustle in a House
    9. I Saw Eternity
    10. Night Practice
    11. The Fish

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