Robert Carl & Taiwanese Birds

27 Apr

HNMF is going to be presenting the premiere of Robert Carl‘s Wind Quintet no. 2 “Birds of Gandu”. Dr. Carl is the chair of the composition department at Hartt School, writes on new music for Fanfare and recently published a fantastic book on Terry Riley’s In C. The quintet’s second movement requires the players to scatter to various locales in the hall, mimicking the recordings of birdsong that only they can hear via headphones. This novel approach to birdsong in the tradition of composers including Messiaen and JL Adams will be a perfect fit in the beautiful architecture of the Charter Oak Cultural Center’s sanctuary. The premiere will be given by Thiago Sousa, flute, Charles Huang, oboe, Alex Kollias, clarinet, Thea Groth, bassoon and Adam Schommer, horn.

Robert wrote the following about the work:

Guandu Nature Reserve in Taiwan

My Wind Quintet No.2, “Birds of Guandu” resulted from a trip to Taiwan in June 2009. My partner Karen McCoy was invited to exhibit in an international sculpture show in Taipei’s Guandu Nature Reserve, a large bird sanctuary on the northern edge of the city. While there with her, I heard the calls of many species of birds I didn’t know, and the mystery of their calls throughout the wetlands was evocative. This piece is the result of that experience.

The piece consists of three movements:

1. Sunrise Invocation: c.2′, a traditional chorale, though using a harmonic procedure where the notes are selected through a gradual rotation through the overtone series.

2. Aviary, c.15′, timing variable: an open-form environment using MaxMSP generated birdsong as a guide for the players’ performance. The effect of the piece is a gradual crescendo of overlapping birdsongs, morphing from one set to another at different rates over its duration.

3. Sunset Blessing, c.6′. Again traditionally notated, with a blend of the original chorale and the transcribed birdsongs, now harmonically unified.

— Robert Carl


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