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Whistling in the Dark embraces a set of duets between various pied butcherbirds (from field recordings in outback Australia) and virtuosic human musicians (in home lockdown) performing transcriptions of this extraordinary avian music - and music it is. Welcome to this ancient and modern world of melodic invention.
The field recordings and initial transcriptions were made by Dr Hollis Taylor in her 16-year investigation into the vocalisations of these feathered choristers. A selection from the 100s of recordings/transcriptions were arranged by Jon Rose in 2020 for human musicians - an interspecies collaboration. Some birdsong phrases were recast at half and quarter speeds (exposing details otherwise too fast for our human perception); others were exposed to contrapuntal devices such as inversion or augmentation - while sections from Jon's own imagination endeavoured to either 'be bird' or consider 'what if bird could'. However, in general this work sets itself the task of meticulously taking on the sonic constructs of another species. It does so with authenticity and on the highest artistic level with diverse Australian musicians.
Instrumentation: Solo instruments, pre-recorded sound.
Contents note: Dalrymple (for bird song and marimba) -- Palm Ragonesi 2016 (for bird song and oboe) -- Mount Surprise (for bird song and viola) -- Owen (for bird song and double bass) -- Binns (for bird song and flute)-- Cameron (for bird song and clarinet) -- Petrick (for bird song and trombone) -- Amadeus (for bird song and bassoon) – Midway (for bird song and piano) -- Burleigh Heads (for bird song and tenor saxophone) -- Erija (for bird song and guitar) -- Palm Ragonesi 2014 (for bird song and tuba) -- The Salt Evaporator (for bird song and violin).
Find out more about the project and listen to all performances at this link:
- Inspired by: Birdsong
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