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Avian Escapades (2016)

For Woodwind Quintet

Flute, Oboe, Clarinet in Bb, Horn in F, Bassoon
First performance by the Blair Woodwind Quintet on September 26, 2016
Duration: 12 minutes

Avian Escapades is dedicated with admiration to Eleanor Lansing Thomas and Rama Bhaskara Rao

I: Hummingbirds – duration approx. 4 minutes and 30 seconds
II: Swans – duration approx. 4 minutes
III: Canaries– duration approx. 4 minutes

Movements can be played together, in the order listed above, or any movement can be played independently as a stand-alone work, or any two movements can be played as a pair in any order.

To be performed along with dancers when feasible.

Program Note

If it is helpful to have abstract images in mind and ear as you hear the music, for movement #1, please imagine the musicians as playful, capricious, virtuosic hummingbirds darting around a garden, whizzing across multifaceted, rapid changing chord progressions in a bebop-like, fast tempo. For movement #2, swans majestically floating in a lake, as the morning sun gradually rises, are infused with Bill Evans’ impressionist harmony and trademark rhythmically independent, singing, melodic lines. For movement #3, please envision active, jaunty, and alert canaries crisscrossing the perfumes of Charley Parker’s Yardbird Suite and Ornithology.

There are no quotes or paraphrases of any music in Avian Escapades. Every note of the quintet is part of an integrated, wholly original composition.

Avian Escapades is a re-orchestration of Avian Capriccio, which was commissioned by Axiom Brass in celebration of their 10th Anniversary and premiered by the Axiom Brass on September 16, 2016.


Blair Woodwind Quintet

To obtain examination or performance material for this
Augusta Read Thomas work, please contact Nimbus Music Publishing.