The New Year starts with the great news of The Vancouver Symphony Orchestra premiering Emily Doolittle’s Reedbird, a commission by the orchestra for their New Music Festival 2019.
For this work, Doolittle took inspiration from the song of the bobolink, also known as ‘reedbird’, a small blackbird found across North America. Doolittle has based each movement of her new work on a slowed down transcription of the fast, bubbly and metallic bobolink song, which is rich in overtones, unique combinations of thirds and fourths intervals, triads, and motif-like elements.
Each movement of Reedbird is based on a direct transcription of a slowed-down bobolink song which Doolittle explains:
I’ve expanded each in a way that draws on both human and bobolink developmental techniques. Of course the timbre of orchestral winds is quite different than that of the bobolink, and the transcriptions are about one eighth the speed of the original song. But I like to imagine that if Reedbird were sped up to bobolink speed, the bobolink, too, might find that it sounded somewhat familiar and somewhat strange.
Reedbird is written for 19 instruments and will be available for purchase at Composers Edition website soon after its premiere.
VSO New Music Festival 2019
19 January, 7:30pm, Orpheum Theatre, Vancouver, Canada
Program includes Emily Doolittle’s Reedbird (World Premiere Commission), and works by John Luther Adams and Jan Sandström.details Emily Doolittle Profile & Works
Tags: bobolink, Commission, Contemporary Orchestral Scores, Emily Doolittle, orchestral music, Orpheum Theatre, premiere, reedbird, Vancouver Civic Theatre, Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, VSO New Music Festival, zoomusicology