The Ugly Duckling
Just like the well-known story, this piece follows the journey of the ugly duckling
(oboe) as she tries to find her family.
The story begins by setting the scene with the ensemble. The duckling enters the
pond and starts singing her song only to realize that she is not wanted because
of her unusual honking sound. She continues on and finds the birds (flutes). She
likes the sound of their fluttering melody, but they reject her. Then she hears the
other ducklings (clarinets) and wants to join in but is rejected again. Sad and
alone she finds a friend in the bullfrog (bass clarinet) who understands how she
feels. She hears his song and joins in but something amazing happens: she
doesn’t honk, but sings. She has turned into a swan! She decides to go back to
the pond. The other ducks don’t recognize her because of the change but she
sings her beautiful song for them and then swims away with the other swans.
The Ugly Duckling plays off instrument stereotypes and special techniques. Each
instrument represents a different animal/character in the pond.