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BEAK (5’) and WORM (3’) - 2022

BEAK and WORM were commissioned by the British Double Reed Society to be performed by Nicholas Daniel OBE in 2022.

BEAK and WORM are a pair of distinct pieces, each partly influenced by recent encounters with particularly loud and beautiful birdsong. Like many composers, when I write music, I gradually build up a piece one bar at a time, trying to find the best idea to follow the last, eventually culminating in something that is performed in a fraction of the time it took to write. Hearing birds loudly and spontaneously creating something quite akin to virtuosic woodwind music led to an artistic question; why can these creatures create such beautiful and special music so quickly and easily when it takes me so long?

Neither of these pieces directly mimic birdsong, but these thoughts of the spontaneity, freedom, and beauty of birds were at play throughout the writing process. The title of BEAK was inspired by what I perceived as a visual similarity between a bird’s beak and the oboe’s exposed reed, which is used a great deal with many pitch bends and vibrato effects. The melody of WORM is an elaboration upon a very simple tune from my earlier piece AESOP 2, and though it shares similar techniques and timbres with BEAK, it inhabits a rather different emotional world. While BEAK is a fanciful flight, WORM could be the solemn wish of a worm, or person, to taste the freedom of flight and music with which birds are blessed.
- Robin Haigh