Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Birds as composers

As I was shovelling earth in my garden today I listened, as I always do, to the Brandenburg playing all around me. Two Blackbirds were doing a double solo spot worthy of JSB in its rhythmic energy and lightning repartee. A squeaky Dunnock tried to sing his little ditty at the same time, while in the backgound the Great Tits intoned their two-note chorale - "tea-cher, tea-cher''. At odd moments the cuckoo droned in the distance with that incredibly irritating song which is so evocative of Spring.

What struck me, amidst this polyphonic free-for all, was that Blackbird One was actually singing the William Tell Overture. Not the galloping bit, the spacious horn theme at the opening. Now, I just wonder if that yodelling phrase was passed down through generations of Blackbirds from a bird living outside Rossini's window - you never know. He would never have told. I wouldn't.

2 comments:

MaLj said...

Nice to hear of bird song in foreign gardens. And I have been listening to "Concert in the Garden" with Maria Schneider Orchestra, as breakfast entertainment in the kitchen (while I was reading a book), and then I have hung laundry to dry outdoors. The cat was allowed to sit under a tree (on a leash) while I was in the garden. The presence of a cat always makes the birds sing differently...

Yesterday I started to play some Bach again, after a long time with no piano practise at all. A lot of WTK preludes (and an occasional bit of a fugue); one of the French Suites; and the Italian Concert. Now I feel much better! Real music...

Andrew Lowe-Watson said...

It's changed a little over the last few days. Now it sort of modulates a little before tailing off. I am a little unsure how many Blackbirds there are in our garden. I think there may be three singing males all within earshot. The one near the road does a little two note flourish at the end of his song, while the one who stands on the roof to sing keeps saying, ''back a bit, back a bit''. Am I going potty?

Maria, I used to play a WTK every morning. Bach is the best restorative I know.