Commissioned by the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama. Premiered on 11th March, 2020 in theWestern Gallery at RWCMD by Tim Lines (Conductor), RWCMD Chamber Winds and Jemma Sharp (Marimba)
During the winter months, large numbers of starlings congregate to perform dazzling aerial displays.These displays or 'murmurations' can involve thousands of birds; dancing, swooping and swirling across the sky.The starlings gather at dusk, watching and waiting for the mysterious moment when conditions are right for their magical flight to begin.
The ensemble of mixed wind instruments, piano and marimba is used to depict the stillness of the landscape at dusk and the interactions of the birds as they gather. The first movement, ‘Dusk’ begins with four single wind instruments playing a sighing, expansive theme that forms the material for the rest of the movement, with the intermittent chattering of birds heard in the flute parts. The second, ‘Gather’ explores a flowing patter in the marimba that is first introduced by single notes of the theme being passed around the wind instruments in quick succession. The final movement, ‘Flight’ is fast paced, full of lively rhythmic patterns and a pulsing, percussive motive in the marimba and piano parts. This, along with the swirling woodwind chords, aims to depict the dancing flight of the birds.