An aleatoric setting of the cautionary tale by Hilaire Belloc of the little girl who “slammed doors and perished miserably”. Scored for Speaker, Woodwind Instruments, Trombone, Violin(s), Cello(s), Piano and Percussion.

The work was written as a prank at a summer school in 1966 when Paul Patterson was still a pupil at the Royal Academy of Music. Patterson was conscious of the fact that contemporary music had lost all appeal to the public and `Rebecca’ represented an attempt to re-establish contact with the audience, a preoccupation that has remained with Patterson ever since. By using the bizarre sounds of the avant garde as a background to a comic poem, we are easily able to come to terms with and enjoy the language of the avant garde. The piece was also written with children in mind, with a graphic score that is actually easy for them to read and understand.


(who slammed doors for fun and perished miserably)
by Hillaire Belloc

A trick that everyone abhors
In little girls is slamming doors.
A wealthy banker’s little daughter
Who lived in Palace Green, Bayswater
(By name Rebecca Offendort),
Was given to this furious sport.
She would deliberately go
And slam the door like Billy-ho!
To make her uncle Jacob start.
She was not really bad at heart,
But only rather rude and wild;
She was an aggravating child….
It happened that a Marble Bust
Of Abraham was standing just
Above the Door this little Lamb
Had carefully prepared to slam,
And down it came! It knocked her flat!
It laid her out! She looked like that.
Her funeral Sermon (which was long
And followed by a sacred song)
Mentioned her Virtues, it is true,
But dwelt upon her Vices too,
And showed the Deadful End of One
Who goes and slams the door for fun.
The children who were brought to hear
The awful tale from far and near
Were much impressed, and inly swore
They never more would slam the Door…
As often they had done before.


Written 1965

Narrator + Chamber Ensemble (Family or Children’s concerts)
Speaker and Instrumental Ensemble. Speaker/1 Woodwind/Trombone/Violin(s)/Cello/Piano/Percussion
Length 10′

Dedication:  ‘To Denby Richards’
Publisher: Josef Weinberger

First Performance
Darlington, 21st August 1966

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