Sorex (a celebration of untamed shrews)
for piano four-hands

Emily Doolittle
Composition Date: 2010
Duration: 00:07:00
Genre: Keyboard, Piano, One Keyboard, Three or More Hands


Instrumentation Set Number 1:
  • 1 x Piano ( 2 Players )
Programme Note:
Sorex was commissioned by the Fung-Chiu duo for inclusion on a concert of pieces based on plays by Shakespeare. I remember as a kid hearing about the play The Taming of the Shrew and wondering, why would a woman be called a
shrew, and what was wrong with shrews anyway? Shrews are tiny, feisty animals thriving in an incredible diversity of environments, not only terrestrial but also arboreal, underground, and semi-aquatic. They are very energetic and have an unusually high metabolism, with a heart rate of up to 1,000 beats per minute. They must eat their body weight in insects, worms, frogs, mice, and even other shrews every day. Fortunately for them, they are one of the few venomous mammals, which makes it possible for them to kill prey their own size or even larger. Some shrews use echolocation, and their brain-to-body -mass ratio, at 10%, is much larger than that of humans (7.5%), dolphins (5.5%) or elephants (2%). Ranging in size from the 3.5 centimeter, 2 gram Etruscan Shrew (the smallest terrestrial living mammal) to the 15 centimeter, 100 gram Asian House Shrew, the shrew family is one of the most successful mammal families, rivalled in diversity only by rodents and bats.
Sorex (the genus name for many of the more common European and North American shrews) playfully explores the idea that it is actually a wonderful thing to be a shrew. Our musical shrew is subjected to a number of attempts at forcible domestication, sedation and prettification, but emerges victorious and unscathed each time. Perhaps the aggressive, independent, energetic spirit of the shrew is not something that should be tamed, but rather something that should be celebrated!


  • Call Number:
  • MI 2120 D6915so
  • Genre:
  • Keyboard, Piano, One Keyboard, Three or More Hands
  • Date of Acquisition:
  • August 31, 2012
  • Type:
  • Print-music, Published by CMC
  • Physical Description:
  • 1 score (27 p.) ; 22 x 28 cm.
    27 Pages
    Height: 28 cm
    Width: 22 cm
  • Additional Information:

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Sorex (a celebration of untamed shrews) for piano four-hands
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Copies of this work are available for loan from: Toronto