From a performance by ALEA II, Stanford University, 1984.
for four solo voices or chamber chorus
Voices: SATB soloists or SATB chamber chorus
"Bird Seasons" is in four movements, representing the four seasons from a "birds eye" view. As an avid bird watcher, I've admired these creatures who are so free in flight, yet so bound by instinct. The text is original except for that of the last movement, which is taken from the Bible.
The first movement, Winter Lullaby, is composed of owl calls. The "who cooks for you, who cooks for y'all" is a transliteration of the sound of the Barred Owl, a southern U.S. bird. The second movement, Love Song for Spring, is concerned with courting, mating and territoriality, with, possibly, an analog in human behavior. The third movement, Circle Dance for Summer, is wildly contrapuntal, with each voice having his or her own text and style. The soprano sings about flight as her voice swoops and dives; the alto recites bird species in the style of an auctioneer; the tenor chants and yodels latin scientific names; the bass explains nest-building techniques and behavior. The last movement, Autumn Meditation, is a serene contemplation of the mystery of migration and combines elements of the previous three movements.
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Radio interview including discussion and performance of "Bird Seasons."