Gala Flagello

The Bird-While

$375.00

Duration: 18'

Instrumentation: Solo Flute, Clarinet, Violin, Cello, and Symphonic Winds

Delivery Method: Physical Delivery
Performance Materials: Score and Parts

The Bird-While (2022) is a concerto for flute, clarinet, violin, cello, and symphonic winds commissioned by Hub New Music. The piece is titled after and based on Keith Taylor’s poem “Acolytes in the Bird-While,” which explores the flora and fauna of Michigan and the struggle to persist in the face of climate change. I aimed to write a concerto for an unconventional group of instruments that demonstrates their virtuosity while providing a platform for awareness of and education around environmental and climate justice. Each movement derives its title from Taylor’s poem, drawing attention to pivotal lines in the poem’s narrative.

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110-026-SP
Delivery Method: Physical Delivery
Performance Materials: Score and Parts

About the Work

Duration: 18'

Movements:
I. Avian Gods
II. Fragile, Vanishing Gifts
III. Survive

Instrumentation: Solo Flute, Clarinet, Violin, Cello, and Symphonic Winds

Commissioned by: Hub New Music

The Bird-While (2022) is a concerto for flute, clarinet, violin, cello, and symphonic winds commissioned by Hub New Music. The piece is titled after and based on Keith Taylor’s poem “Acolytes in the Bird-While,” which explores the flora and fauna of Michigan and the struggle to persist in the face of climate change. I aimed to write a concerto for an unconventional group of instruments that demonstrates their virtuosity while providing a platform for awareness of and education around environmental and climate justice. Each movement derives its title from Taylor’s poem, drawing attention to pivotal lines in the poem’s narrative. The first movement, “Avian Gods,” is inspired by the calls of the pileated woodpecker and redstart warbler, two Michigan bird species central to Taylor’s poem. This movement’s 5/8 motif follows the woodpecker’s five-note call, often separated into three- and two-note groupings that can be heard in both the soloists’ and ensemble’s parts. Snap pizzicati in the solo violin and cello evoke the woodpecker’s pecking, and the ensemble’s driving 5/8 ostinato conjures the warbler’s high, repetitive five-note shriek. The second movement, “Fragile, Vanishing Gifts,” highlights the individual natural elements that surround us every day. The flute, clarinet, violin, and cello articulate the future loss of these elements due to climate change as they introduce the movement’s theme separately, then come together in canon; our environment is a delicate balance between the individual and the collective. This theme originates from my Moon Dream (2020) for solo soprano saxophone, an early pandemic-era lullaby commissioned by Latitude 49 for their Bagatelles Project in support of the Coalition for African Americans in the Performing Arts. The third movement, “Survive,” is both a question and a call to action: can the performers—and our environment—withstand disruption and damage? As I was writing this movement, my best friend and horn player, Marina Krol Hodge, suddenly passed, leaving me pondering my own ability to weather life’s storms. Dedicated to Marina, “Survive” features horn solos and a brass chorale throughout to commemorate her bright, resilient spirit and her support of new music. The movement’s title also references the way in which music itself might survive through history, which I illustrate by quoting the prelude of J.S. Bach’s Violin Partita No. 3. Two more nods to Bach appear later in this movement in the solo violin and cello. Piping plover calls are referenced in the fleeting, staccato woodwind parts, and the movement’s focus on quintal harmony and recurring fifths harken to the woodpecker’s opening five-note call. 5% of proceeds from The Bird-While sales and rentals will be donated to the Bird Center of Michigan. More information can be found at www.birdcentermi.org.

Pages: 264