Commissioned by St John’s Smith Square for Tabea Debus, 2016
The recorder claims several roles in an operatic context. One of its main allegories is the imitation of birdsong, famously depicted by George Frideric Handel, Henry Purcell and many more. Whether this implies that the recorder is capable of speaking the birds’ language or that it is merely playing the composer’s own version of this secret language is a different matter. The fascination with this phenomenon is a prevailing feature in music, as the newly composed recorder solo work “The Language of Birds” by Philip Cashian shows.
“In mythology and folk tales from around the world the language of birds is often considered to be a magical language and the ability to understand it a sign of great wisdom. Whilst writing this short, virtuosic piece I began to realise that playing the recorder is extremely close to talking or singing and the instrument is a natural extension and amplification of the players body. This was very much in my mind whilst composing.” – Philip Cashian
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