Dance of Gnomes, 1890. Edward MacDowell, 1860-1908. MacDowell Collection, box 16, folder 24. Music Division, Library of Congress.
In dramatic contrast to Cradle Song, the song Dance of Gnomes sets a text by MacDowell that is jarring, spooky, and humorous. The Gnomes, also called "Flower Fairies," conjure up shadows, moonlight, dark forests, and magic spells. Later in the work they call themselves "ugly, hairy imps," "ugly noddles" (noddle is the nape of the neck, back of the head), and "willful hussies." They also teach how true love conquers all. The poetry is syllabically set and calls for vibrant, robust declamation. This work is exuberant, tongue-in-cheek, and macabre.