The Naming of Birds


for Wind Quintet

Composition Date: 2000

Duration: 15'

Instrumentation: Fl(Picc), Ob, Cl, Hn, Bsn

Information:

Commissioned by the Reykjavik Wind Quintet and first performed at the Matt Thompson Hall, Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama, on 27 April 2001.

Programme Note:

The Naming of Birds (2001)

I wrote this piece while also working on Knotgrass Elegy, an oratorio which uses a text by Donald Goodbrand Saunders describing the threat that modern farming methods pose to birds. The birds' Latin names are chanted by a children's chorus. While making the sketches for this large scale piece, I became fascinated by the close relationship that the Latin names (and often common names too) have with the actual sound of the bird. I began to notate the birdsongs with that in mind, and these five short movements for wind quintet emerged, each featuring a different member of the quintet as a soloist.

Perdix perdix (the partridge) horn

Vanellus vanellus (the lapwing) oboe

Carduelis cannabina, emberiza calendra (the linnet, the corn bunting) flute/piccolo

Tyto alba (the barn owl) bassoon

Pyrrhula pyrrhula (the bullfinch) clarinet

The work was commissioned by the Reykjavik Wind Quintet, and first performed at the Matt Thompson Hall, Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama, on 27th April 2001.

Sally Beamish 2001

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