Birds in Flight

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Birds in Flight  for Orchestra  [2.5 minutes]

Performed by the Bulgarian National Radio Philharmonic with Maxim Eshkenazy (Conductor) at Bulgaria Hall for the 2010 Fortissimo Fest.

Instrumentation:  Piccolo, 2 Flutes, Oboe, 2 Clarinets, Bass Clarinet, 2 Bassoons, Contrabassoon, 4 Horns, 2 Trumpets, 2 Trombones, Bass Trombone, Tuba, Percussion, Xylophone, Marimba, Piano, Harp, & Strings.

Year Composed:  2010

Program Notes:  

Birds in Flight is a quick, light, and energetic spectacle of whimsy depicting birds dancing through the air at breakneck speeds.  This bold and blazing piece is a blending of traditional Bulgarian folk music, Latin jazz, and American pop.  The driving rhythm and melody is based off of a Bulgarian wedding dance in an 11 beat feel (grouped 2 + 2 + 3 + 2 + 2).  The melody is also infused with jazz ornamentation and chromaticism while syncopated accents add to the excitement.  The percussion and harmony offer an American “pop” feel to the overall sound resulting in a dynamic and slightly quirky show piece for the orchestra.   

The orchestra takes off with an ascending flurry that quickly turns into a serene glide.  The melody rapidly enters and moves between sections as the harmony modulates to various altitudes.  The tune is interrupted by moments of soaring but it hastily returns with dance-like exuberance as the melody is passed back and forth from instrument to instrument.  A Cuban-like jazz riff enters as a break-up strain to the proceedings and builds up to a unison exclamation.  The flight immediately picks up again while the brass sing-out an elongated and ascending fanfare to the end.

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