For The Birds
About this work:
For the Birds, for amplified cello and electronics is an hommage to the birds of the Yellowstone region, one of Madeleine Shapiro’s favorites, as well as a play on Cage’s book of that name. Rather than imitate the sounds of the natural world in music, I include them, sometimes directly, sometimes digitally transformed. The joining of the voice of the cello with that of the birds, reminds us of the joining of the human worlds with those of the birds that surround us. The transformation of their voices speaks to the transformative power of music.
For the Birds was commissioned by cellist Madeleine Shapiro. I am grateful to naturalist Kevin Colver for sharing his recordings. Bird enthusiasts my also know that he is the narrator of the Stokes Field Guide to Bird Songs: Western Region.
Each of the four movments is named for, and draws on the voices of, different groups of birds: 1. Songbirds 2. Sapsuckers 3. Birds of Prey 4. Water Birds. For the Birds is published by Wendigo Music.
Year composed: 2005
Ensemble type: Electronic Instruments and Sound Sources
Instrumentation: 1 Cello
Instrumentation notes: Amplified cello and electronic playback