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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