The Birds of Tin
Soprano, Flute, Recorders, Trumpet, and Piano
Written for Ensemble Hexnut in a workshop put on by Splendor Amsterdam in June 2017. Special thanks to the members of Hexnut for a great performance and experience, to Steve Ricks for organizing the workshop, and to the Laycock Foundation for making it possible. Contrary to my usual composition process, I actually began writing this piece before I selected the text. The Morse code-like opening with disjunct interjections was one of the first ideas that I wrote down. I wanted to experiment with the timbral effect of having the vocalist rolling her r's alongside flutter-tonguing in the winds. I selected the text for this piece, an English surrealist poem by Charles Madge, with this effect in mind. After I selected the text, then the rest of the piece was shaped around the form and emotional quality of the text.