A short orchestral fanfare, describing the flight of the albatross, a famous resident of Dunedin Peninsula. It is light and frothy, and good for the opening of a concert.
Watch performance by the NZSO
Albatross in Flight for orchestra has been recorded by the NZ Symphony Orchestra and released on film by SOUNZ (The Centre for New Zealand Music). This lively short piece captures the movements of this most graceful of Kiwi flyers.
Albatross in Flight was commissioned by the then Dunedin Sinfonia to celebrate its 30th anniversary in 1996. It is an orchestral fanfare or short concert opener - just three minutes long.
The music was inspired by the sight of an albatross gliding in strong currents on a summer's evening at Taiaroa Head. Opening motifs played on the woodwinds suggest slow gliding, and are accompanied by wind chimes and delicate strings. Eventually a lyrical melody emerges on violins, syncopated in character.
In the 90's I had deliberately simplified my musical style, and part of that owed a debt to popular music. I had recently been 'blasted' at a gig by The Exponents and the shapes of their vocal lines stayed with me when composing this piece. As the music gathers in energy, the gliding motifs and lyrical melody get scrambled closer together. There is also a short canon based on the gliding motifs. The increased activity suggests an albatross enjoying the thermals, and leads to a climax where both lyrical melody and gliding motifs are combined simultaneously. The piece ends with a brief piccolo/flute solo, as the bird comes in to land.
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