On Classical Music

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Haydn scored a chicken clucking in his symphony La Poule; Saint-Sans set an entire menagerie to music in his 'grand zoological fantasy' The Carnival of the Animals; Respighi included the recorded song of a real nightingale in his 1920s picturepostcardy The Pines of Rome; while Milhaud and Cocteau teamed up to put an ox on the roof in their music-hall collaboration, Le Boeuf sur le toit. But nobody so far has ever spared a musical thought for the poor old cow.

Until now.

Driven to udder distraction by the lowing herds of a neighbouring rancher, Phillip Kent Bimstein - a young American composer better known in a previous life as lead guitarist with the rock group Phil 'n' the Blanks - has now created his own 'concerto in three moo-vements' from the sampled sounds of the offending cud-chewers and the recorded voice of their keeper Garland C Hirschi of Rockville, Utah, whom Blimstein miked before milking for his reminiscences about his early love of cows, his speculations about what makes them 'bawl' and his lifelike impressions of their mooing.

The choreographer Sungsoo Ahn has now taken Bimstein's score and used it as the basis for a new piece by the UK-based Transitions dance company. Garland Hirschi's Cows opened in Prague earlier this spring and has now reached London. As they say, a new dance graze has hit town.

Tonight, Bloomsbury (071-388 8822); 13 May, The Hawth, Crawley (0293 553636)

(Photograph omitted)

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