Caballito Negro and friends offer a small selection from their upcoming concert as an invitation to experience a little of John Luther Adam’s epic work (presented fully on Saturday September 29th).
Along with guest artists, flutist Elizabeth McNutt and percussionists Chris Whyte and Jared Brown, they are performing “songbirdsongs”, an evocation of rural birdsong by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer John Luther Adams. An epic poem to wilderness, “songbirdsongs” is a collection of indeterminate miniature pieces for piccolos, ocarinas, and percussion, based on free translations of bird songs.
Adams writes, “These small songs are echoes of rare moments and places where the voices of birds have been clear and I have been quiet enough to hear. This music is not literal transcription. It is translation. These melodies and rhythms are not so much constructed artifacts as they are spontaneous affirmations. No one has yet explained why the free songs of birds are so simply beautiful. And what do they say? What are their meanings? We may never know. But beyond the realm of ideas and emotions, language and sense, we just may hear something of their essence.”
John Luther Adams is an American composer whose music is inspired by nature, especially the landscapes of Alaska, where he lived from 1978 to 2014. His orchestral work, “Become Ocean,” was awarded the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Music.
Flutist Elizabeth McNutt in on the faculty of the University of North Texas and is the director of the Sounds Modern series at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth. Chris Whyte is on the faculty of Portland State University and Western Oregon University, and is a member of the Portland Percussion Group. Jared Brown is the director of the Oregon Fringe Festival, and is an active composer and performer.