Duration (in minutes): 20'39;
Difficulty: Medium (college/community)
Publisher: Theodore Presser
Description: Comm. and prem: 4/93 The Women’s Philharmonic, San Francisco, CA
This concerto is based on Charlie Parker’s Au Privave and John Coltrane’s Blue Trane. Structured as a dramatic tone poem, Urban Bird portrays a street musician playing on a subway platform whose music is continually drowned out by the passing trains.
“It is very late at night. Imagine a deserted subway platform in New York City; a street musician playing solos in the dark... he has heard plenty of Charlie Parker and more than a little John Coltrane... he is playing his heart out for no one but himself. Imagine trains roaring through the station frequently drowning him out. Imagine that he not only continues playing but that he integrates the sounds of the trains into his solos. His music transforms the dingy cavern into a magic place. Commuters rush into the train which tears away into the dark tunnel. When quiet returns, the musicians’s notes forlornly drift down around him.” Ann Arbor Symph.
“As close as an instrumental piece can get to an actual opera...
Incredibly effective.” San Francisco Bay Times