Birds: Classical Music
We typically study one composer at time when we explore classical music throughout the school year. We really learn all about the composer and get a feel for their music so we can identify it when we hear it in another context.
This month we are doing it a bit different. We are instead exploring a variety of composers who have created works around birds! Some actually have bird sounds, others use instruments to imitate birds. Overall it gives us great music to listen to and talk about
When to Listen
We don’t have an assigned day or time to listen to music. We typically play our classical music in the background while we do other things. Some suggestions are during:
- Bible Reading
- Read Alouds
- Quiet Time
- Game time
What We’re Listening To…
- The Lark Ascending, Ralph Vaughan Williams
Inspired by the 1881 poem of the same name, this piece was first performed in 1920. A 16 minute song, it was created for a solo violin with an orchestra.
- The Birds, Ottorino Respighi
This suite is for a small orchestra and while written in 1926, it is based on music from the 17th and 18th century. The goal of the music was to recreate bird songs and movement. It includes The Dove, The Hen, The Nightingale and The Cuckoo.
- Cantus Articus, Einojuhani Rautavaara
This Finnish composer created this composition in 1972. It includes taped recordings of birds from the Finland and the Arctic Circle with the music including shore larks and swans.
- Bird Concerto with Pianosong, Jonathan Harvey
Written in 2001 for a solo piano with 7 person ensemble. Harvey listened to 40 birds, including indigo buntings and golden crown sparrows, then slowed down their songs and began turning them into musical notes.
- Le Merle noir, Olivier Messiaen
Written in 1952, it is a chamber work from French flute and piano. He had a lifelong interest in birdsong and this piece was his earliest work incorporating stylized birdsong.
- Le Réveil des oiseaux, Olivier Messiaen
This whole piece was build from birdsong and is known as a dawn chorus.
- Epode, Olivier Messiaen
This work is scored for 18 violins, all playing a different birdsong.
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