Completed in June 2017, this single movement work comprises alternating sections of searching intensity & simple folksong, all of which are bird-related. The work is scored for piccolo, flute, alto flute, oboe, cor anglais, clarinet, bass clarinet, bassoon, contra-bassoon, 3 horns, 2 tenor & 1 bass trombone, tuba, harp, solo string quintet & full strings. There is extensive percussion. I have drawn upon folksong settings I have made over a long period, but the work as a whole has been composed as a single entity over three months or so.
The 45' work is one continuous movement, with three main contrasting elements: the uncertain harmonic probing from the very start recurs in developed forms throughout the symphony; interspersed into this are sections of dynamic rhythmic complexity, and three sections of bird-themed folksongs, with tonal harmony. The mood of the music reflects the poem.
The subtitle "little bird" refers to a poem I wrote in 2009:
you, little bird who measures out time in swoops, dives, chattering and song that fills the space in which we both belong, in which I heard
none of the pain - it is the song which you and I rehearse and improvise each virgined day, we bring it on and on again to nullify the truth - that emerging from this clay we are the same
dulled molecules of dust - rehearse this scene again - do not disturb the tramp asleep, nor restless muse who races dawn in creative urgent lust vaingloriously to lose the sense of noun or verb -
your soulful song and my manufactured phrase come and go and multiply - the same dulled molecules make our days: for you to fly, for me to sigh - we do not stay for long -
you, little bird whistling in the wind whilst I temper time’s mortal coil with sweet music of the mind - in the final silence no song is heard your song and mine mix their atoms in the soil