I'm off...
Earth's gifts

Tunes for a Monday Morning

Wild geese in flight

My apologies for being away from Myth & Moor for longer than expected. I spent a week of solitude in a very beautiful place (more about that tomorrow), then came down with the flu shortly after my return. I'm on the mend now, however, and back to a regular studio schedule (touch wood).

I was surrounded by birds and birdsong during my week away from home, so this morning's music is an homage to all of our winged neighbors....

Above: The Rotterdam Philharmonic performs "Cantus Arcticus, Op.61" by Finnish composer Einojuhani Rautavaara (1928-2016). Rautavaara passed away just a few months ago, but his gorgeous and rather mystical music lives on. In this piece, the conventional instrumental soloist is replace with taped birdsong from Arctic Finland.

Below:  "The Lark Ascending" by English composer Ralph Vaughn Williams (1872-1958), performed by Scottish violinist Nicola Benedetti. Williams' composition was inspired by George Meredith's poem of the same name.

Greater hoop lark in flight

Below: "The Blackbird," a short piece for flute and piano by French composer Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992), performed by Kenneth Smith on flute and Matthew Schellhorn on piano. Messiaen was a passionate ornithologist as well as a musician, and spent a great deal of time in the wild studying birdsong.

And last: "The Birds," a suite for small orchestra by Italian composer Ottorino Respighi (1879-1936), inspired by 17th & 18th century works attempting to render bird song and movement as musical notations. The first three movements of the suite are performed below by the Academic Chamber Soloists Prague.

Green Willow by Warkwick Goble

I wish I could also offer you something from John Harvey's Bird Concerto with Pianosong, but I can't find any performances of it online at all -- so I can only urge you to seek out London Sinfonietta's recording of this stunning piece of music if you don't know it already.

I also recommend "The Wild Dove, Opus 110," a favorite piece of mine by Czech composer Antonín Dvořák, beautifully performed by the Symfonieorkest Vlaanderen here. And American composer John Luther Adams' spare and magical "Songbirdsong," which you'll find here.

You might also be interested in the BBC documentary Why Birds Sing, available on YouTube in six parts starting here.

A young Eurasian collared dove, photograph by Diti Torterat

The illustration above is "Green Willow" by Warwick Goble (1862-1943). The photographs are from Wiki Commons, photographers credited in the picture captions.

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