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Avian Capriccio (2016)

For Brass Quintet

2 Trumpets in C, Horn, Trombone, Tuba
Commissioned by Axiom Brass in celebration of their 10th Anniversary
First performance by the Axiom Brass on September 16, 2016
Duration: 12 minutes

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.

Movement #1 performed by Axiom Brass

CD Available

This work is available on
Augusta Read Thomas: The Auditions


The brass quintet Avian Capriccio is typically free-wheeling in its evocation of 3 contrasting types of birds. Thus, hummingbirds set the ball rolling as the brass dart, cavort and hocket in their unpredictable, airborne games. In solemn contrast, the middle movement's swans glide in slowly exfoliating ariosi as the music, beginning quietly, grows progressively eloquent. The finale seems to initially grow out of the swans' floating stillness, but it soon kicks off in a romp of playfully be-bopping syncopations as Thomas' Charlie Parker-ish canaries take centre stage and bring this triptych to an ebullient conclusion.
© Paul Pellay


Axiom Brass. Photo by Dario Acosta

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