Days of Bells and Flying Creatures
For Trumpet Quartet*
Duration: 15 mins approx.
I began composing Days of Bells and Flying Creatures during a week's residency in Chianti in July 2017. Whilst there I spent much of my time making recordings of the sounds that surrounded me on a daily basis: the bells of the nearby towns; the birdsong that I heard on my walks along country lanes; the buzz of cicadas and other insects in the vineyards; the cooing of the doves that nested in the old church that was my studio; the cries of roosters from the farm next-door. My transcriptions of these recordings became the musical material from which this piece is formed and to me this makes the work almost akin to a diary of my residency.
Scored in seven movements the work charts the course of a day in Chianti. Beginning with a brief and playful prelude (Bird, Cicadas, Fly), we hear Morning Bells and Sunday Mass in which an opening of pealing bells gives way to more prayer-like music with the bass trumpet representing the voice of a priest. This is followed by a lyrical Dove Aria before the insistent tolling of Midday Bells marks the mid-point in the piece. The fifth movement, Waltzing Doves then returns the listener to more melodic ground, whilst the concise, penultimate movement, Bird, Cicadas, Rooster is not dissimilar to the first of the set in its quirky depiction of birdsong and the sound of insects. Days of Bells and Flying Creatures concludes with Evening Bells in which bell-like sonorities become the basis of a peaceful chorale, before a final episode – which recalls melodic fragments from earlier movements – brings the work to a close.
*Days of Bells and Flying Creatures is scored for three Bb trumpets (1st doubling piccolo trumpet) and bass trumpet. However an alternative part for a fourth Bb trumpet is included in Warwick Music's publication of the work. This part can replace the bass trumpet for the first six movements of the work, allowing a standard trumpet quartet to perform the piece (minus VII. Evening Bells). Given the similar characters of both I. Bird, Cicadas, Fly and VI. Bird, Cicadas, Rooster, the omission of the seventh movement in performance is perfectly acceptable.
Click HERE to purchase this work from the Warwick Music website.
Click HERE watch a video of the penultimate movement of Days of Bells and Flying Creatures: VI. Bird, Cicadas, Rooster.