• 1. Swainson’s Thrush
  • 2. Hermit Thrush
  • 3. Wood Thrush
  • 4. Veery


Program Notes

This piece has an unusual origin. Years ago, in order to leave my home on the west coast of Canada to study composition in Europe, I raised money for my travel by selling as-yet unwritten bars of music to everyone I’d ever met. The result was a huge commission from over sixty friends, family, and community members. In 2011, with the help of the Quatuor Bozzini, I finally made good on my promise and created the piece Warblework.

The first movement of this composition is based on a melody, Leaving, by Canadian fiddler Zav RT, who was then a resident of the remote Salt Spring Island, where myself and many of the sixty supporters lived. It transcribes the recording Zav made of this melody, adorned by the warblings of the late Oliver Schroer.

The following three movements are based on birdsongs — in particular of three thrushes — whose songs whistle up and down the harmonic series. When these birdsongs are slowed down, they reveal incredibly human-like melodies. What results in these four movements then is something of a poem to the regional sounds of the Pacific coast, of both the cafés (Zav RT) and the forests (the swainson’s thrush, hermit thrush, and veery).