NEW MUSIC ENSEMBLE
The first movement, e-gull, depicts a majestic Golden Eagle taking off in slow motion. After watching a slow-motion video of this glorious, yet routine action, it became clear that eagles do not take off in the way I had imagined they would. Rather than furiously flapping their wings and relying on their strength to propel them into the air where they simply catch and ride the current, they instead leap up about 10 feet into the air. Just when you think that gravity - whose all-time undefeated record is truly unmatched - will win yet again, the eagle fans out their wings, glides for a moment, and then calmly begins to flap them. In addition to the nuances to taking off that the video illuminates, the video also captures the way in which turbulence effects (or should I say "hardly effects") the eagle's flight patterns. The eagle effortlessly allows the ebbs and flows of the turbulent winds
The initial video I watched is included on the right.
ii. flight of the hummingbirds
flight of the hummingbirds is a tongue-in-cheek homage to Rimsky Korsakov's legendary Flight of the Bumblebee. Most anyone familiar with Korsokov knows that Flight of the Bumblebee is infamous for being technically demanding and, if you're a wind player, impossible to play in its' entirety without circular breathing. Although I feel extremely confident in saying that Korsokov does not own the intellectual property of descending chromatic lines that spin out of a simple minor i chord into a minor iv chord, the way in which I chose to nod to Korsokov was by capturing the spirit that Flight of the Bumblebee implies; Relentless perpetual motion which expresses the wild
Before I go and do something foolish like criticize an important Romantic composer for the crime of not having a modern lens with which to evaluate music, let me preface my criticism by saying that I am a critical person by nature. Flight of the Bumblebee is undoubtedly an interesting piece, but it is viewed today as what we in "the biz" would call a "dick-flexing piece." Its purpose is not to demonstrate musicianship, but merely to showcase one's virtuosity (typically in a self-aggrandizing way). From an analytical perspective, Flight of the Bumblebee hovers around a small melodic range, has a neatly organized, repetitive form, but worst of all, communicates nothing meaningful from a programmatic perspective aside from "the bee came and did the same thing over and over until it flew away." To my modern ears, not only is this piece an insufficient application of an otherwise evocative musical concept, it's not even how bees behave. Bees go over here. And then there. And then that way. This way. I'm landing on you. Psyche. Oops, time to land. Back to circling your legs. Ha, made you flinch. Back to the flowers. THAT'S a bee.
Given my borderline disrespectful analysis of a perfectly decent slice of music history, after I had selected flight of the hummingbirds as my title, I knew that I needed to take Korsakov's brain child to its logical conclusion.
flight of the hummingbirds begins by setting the atmosphere. A field of flowers flowing in the wind, the viola's trill carried over from e-gull activates the wind. Isolated pitches immediately present themselves, signifying that the field is full of life and ready to be explored.