The Naming of Birds
for Wind Quintet
Composition Date: 2000
Instrumentation: Fl(Picc), Ob, Cl, Hn, Bsn
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.
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