The original version, composed in 2006 for percussion and orchestra, co-commissioned by the the Wiener Mozartjahr and Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra, with funding from the Norwegian Arts Council. This version, for percussion, cello and orchestra, was co-commissioned by Gävle Symphony Orchestra and Trondheim Symphony Orchestra, after an initiative by percussionist Hans-Kristian Kjos Sørensen and cellist Tanja Tetzlaff.
1) M. Noir
A tribute to another M. in music history associated with birds, Olivier Messiaen; one of his many compositions based on birdsong is Le merle noir (The Blackbird). The song of a rock thrush, cousin of the blackbird, was transposed down two octaves and slowed down to one fourth of its speed so that we sluggish humans can appreciate the many wonderful melodic turns hiding inside the song.
2) Mon trés cher Pére
The first work Mozart completed after his father's death was oddly enough Ein Musikalischer Spaß (A Musical Joke). This caricature of the musical shortcomings of his often much more popular rivals ends with three extremely dissonant chords. Actually, played very softly these chords are quite beautiful, and they serve here as a small requiem for Leopold. Amadeus usually opened his letters to his father with "Mon trés cher Pére". This misspelled cliché of endearment strikes right into the core of Mozart's strained relationship to his father.
3) 3 x 3
Mozart was an active Freemason. In the overture to the Magic Flute, the wind instruments give away the secret knocking signal of the second grade: Short - long - long, repeated three times. Here, the signal can be heard in the Marimba part.
4) Es klinget...
The only melodic percussion instrument available in Mozart's time was the glockenspiel. In The Magic Flute it is Papageno's musical weapon, and here is a transformed excerpt from the glockenspiel part. The orchestration also includes a reference to Mozart's use of glass harmonica.
5) Herr Stahr
Herr Stahr died only a week after Mozart's father, and Mozart wrote a heartfelt poem for his funeral. The starling is one of the great virtuosi among birds. Therefore the speed of the bird song is slowed down three times before analysis, but without losing virtuosity!