Birdsong Bagatelles

Cowie, Edward (2004) Birdsong Bagatelles. [Composition]

Item Type: Composition
Creators: Cowie, Edward
Abstract / Summary:

This, my fifth string quartet, was commissioned by the Coull Quartet through funding provided by The University of Warwick, where it was premièred in June 2002. The work comprises a series of twenty-four 'micro-movements', each lasting no more than a minute or so and being a 'sonic portrait' of one of twenty-four common British birds. The subject for the work originated in my inaugural artist-in-residence with the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) from 2002-2005.

I had already published a book, 'Birds Talk'(Minerva Press, London, 2001) and the 'subjects' for each movement mirror those in the book. In addition to my work as a composer and visual artist, I am also an active and published ornithologist. However, this quartet does not concern itself with Messiaen-like transcriptions of bird songs; rather, the bird songs locate the music in a kind of sonic habitat directly inspired by re-conceiving landscape features and dynamics as musical forms.

Official URL:
Date: 1 June 2004
Additional Information: Quartet for 2 violins, viola and cello; duration: 35 minutes; pub: United Music Publishers, London; ISMN M 2244 05321 6. The work has been performed more than forty times including at several festivals in the UK (e.g Northampton Festival, July 2003). It was recorded by BBC Radio 3 and broadcast in a special programme, ‘Music and Birdsong’, devoted to musical responses to birds on 23 June 2003.
Depositing User: Ex Falmouth Staff
Date Deposited: 06 Aug 2014 10:55
Last Modified: 13 Oct 2017 16:03


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