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First light : full orchestra

by Christopher Sainsbury (2007)

First light


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First light / Christopher Sainsbury.

Library shelf no. 784.2/SAI 2 [Available for loan]

Work Overview

The whole piece is constructed using local bird sounds. The main themes are bird calls and songs strung together end on end, and the harmony is also derived from the short bird calls and songs. The main themes are often attacked (pecked and scratched) by short bird call interjections (from other species) that are of no relationship to the main subject themes. It makes a great texture and it's how I hear it out and about in nature. The bird species are listed on the score as they appear. It sounds cacophonous, melodic, curious and sonorous ("cinematically tonal" according to the Boston Globe). Using local bird sounds (which are specific to a few kilometres) I am able to render a true sense of place and season in the work relating to the Central Coast, my home.

Work Details

Year: 2007

Instrumentation: Piccolo, 2 flutes, 2 oboes, cor anglais, 2 clarinets ion B flat, bass clarinet, 2 bassoons, 4 horns, 3 trumpets in C, 2 trombones, bass trombone, tuba, timpani, percussion (2 players), piano, harp, strings.

Duration: 9 min.

Difficulty: Advanced

Commission note: Commissioned by Christopher Bearman, Central Coast Symphony Orchestra with funds provided by Arts NSW.

First performance: by Central Coast Symphony Orchestra — 2007. Laycock Street Theatre, Gosord SW

First Light is the first movement of a larger three-movement work, Symphony of the Birds. However, it was written so that it may also serve as a stand-alone piece by itself.

The composer notes the following influences on this work: Ives, Dutilleux.

Winner of the: New England Philharmonic Orchestra, Boston, Call for Scores Award 2010-11.


Performances of this work

2007: Laycock Street Theatre, Gosord SW. Featuring Central Coast Symphony Orchestra.

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