• Sally Beamish
  • The Naming of Birds (2000)

  • Peters Edition Limited (World)

Commissioned by the Reykjavik Wind Quintet and first performed at the Matt Thompson Hall, Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama, on 27 April 2001.

  • 1(pic).1.0+bb-cl.1/f-hn
  • 15 min
    • 28th September 2024, Carlos Chávez Hall, México City, Mexico
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Programme Note

I wrote this piece while also working on Knotgrass Elegy, an oratorio which uses a text by Donald Goodbrand Saunders describing the threat that modern farming methods pose to birds. The birdsʼ Latin names are chanted by a children's chorus. While making the sketches for this large scale piece, I became fascinated by the close relationship that the Latin names (and often common names too) have with the actual sound of the bird. I began to notate the birdsongs with that in mind, and these five short movements for wind quintet emerged, each featuring a different member of the quintet as a soloist.

Perdix perdix (the partridge): Horn

Vanellus vanellus (the lapwing): Oboe

Carduelis cannabina, emberiza calendra (the linnet, the corn bunting): Flute/Piccolo

Tyto alba (the barn owl): Bassoon

Pyrrhula pyrrhula (the bullfinch): Clarinet

The work was commissioned by the Reykjavik Wind Quintet, and first performed at the Matt Thompson Hall, Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama, on 27th April 2001.

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