The inspiration for "When a Cardinal Fell from the Sky" came from the body of a stunningly beautiful female cardinal, found lifeless near the composer's house on a chilly morning of January 2007. The piece offers both the composer's emotional reaction to the discovery and an attempt at reconstructing the last moments of the bird's consciousness.
There are three significant musical elements in the piece. The series of strikes by the entire orchestra represents both the emotional shock of finding the beautiful creature lying on the ground and the imagined cause of the bird's fall. The chatter created by the strings throughout the piece represents birds in busy conversation. It also refers to daily conversation, the source of information and social identity that is often lost in the buzz of individual worries and self-consciousness. The last of these three elements, repeated notes appearing in the last half of the piece, are sung by an imaginary chorus of bird angels and symbolize the resilience of creative minds. They accompany the listener through the final segment of the piece, representing the hope and liberation that come with the final ascension to the sky.
The work was first completed in March 2007, originally bearing the title of "Untitled Song for the Bird", and has been heavily revised throughout 2008. It is approximately 8 1/2 minutes in length. A performance by the American Composers Orchestra would constitute the premiere of this work.
American Composers Orchestra (ACO) is dedicated to the creation, celebration, performance, and promotion of orchestral music by American composers. With commitment to diversity, disruption and discovery, ACO produces concerts, pre-college and college education programs, and emerging composer professional development to foster a community of creators, audience, performers, collaborators, and funders.
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