Album: John Luther, Adamssongbirdsongs (Mode)


Bernie Krause, in his engrossing recent book The Great Animal Orchestra, called attention to the biophony of the natural world, notably the birdsong that fascinated Olivier Messiaen.

Adams is likewise obsessed with avian music, studying the different musical signatures of bird species and using certain phrases as the discrete building blocks of a complex systems-music in which performers follow rules dictated by each species's sonic behaviour. Avoiding strict imitation, the results, in the suite "songbirdsongs", are delicate creations in which chirping flutes or cooing ocarinas are studded with tinkling celesta and xylophone; while "Strange Birds Passing", with its overlapping woodwinds, is more obviously a form of chamber music.

Download: Strange Birds Passing; Mourning Dove; Meadowdance