Duration (in minutes): 14:00
Difficulty: High (professional)
Description: Although I grew up in Western Canada, where the Western Meadowlark makes its summer home, this piece was not inspired by the experience of hearing a meadowlark in the wild. In January, 2013 I heard a recording of a meadowlark during a lecture given by Allan Gordon
Bell, my undergraduate composition teacher. The beautiful recorded song moved me in a manner difficult to describe, and many months later I found myself thinking of it. Fortunately, Allan was kind enough to share his recording with me when I asked, and the first movement of this piece was the result.
The structure of the piece is rooted in the meadowlark's song; the fixed media in the first movement is derived from the two-second birdsong recording, which I stretched out to last over four and a half minutes and processed slightly. The marimba music is also drawn from
that slowed-down song. It calls for very virtuosic playing; the percussionist must perform diminuendi with one hand and crescendi with the other in a kind of transcription of the slowly shifting, overlapping pitches of the original birdsong. The second and third
movements of the piece use transcriptions and transformations of a meadowlark recording made by Geoffrey A. Keller, which the Macaulay Library at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology kindly provided to me. The second movement also uses a recording of peepers and
bullfrogs made by Chad Stayrook at i-Park.
Meadowlark is dedicated to Ian Rosenbaum, who - against all odds - made me fall in love with the marimba, and to my mother, a lifelong birder who instilled in me a love of nature and of birdsong.