The Song of the Bird

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Kent Tritle, perhaps the only choral director who also lives with a Moluccan cockatoo, has assembled a flock of fine-feathered choral works for today’s program. We hear bird-loving Bela Bartok’s songs about birds, Eric Whitacre’s brilliant evocation of birds in flight and a range of English works dating back to the Renaissance.

No other creatures in the animal kingdom have captured our collective imagination quite like birds. They're beautiful to watch, beautiful to hear and they have the freedom to fly. Some choral composers have imitated the sounds of birds in their works; others have presented birds as powerful metaphors in their texts.



Voices of Western Backyard Birds:

Evening Grosbeak Calls, and American Goldfinch Song, Call

Macaulay Library

Cornell Lab of Ornithology

159 Sapsucker Woods Road

Ithaca, New York 14850


Bela Bartok: Twenty Seven Choruses

Hawk; Bird Song; The Bird’s Promise

Schola Hungarica

Laszlo Dobszay, Conductor

Hungaroton Classic


Benjamin Britten: The Birds

Toronto Children’s Choir

Simon Preston, Organ

Jean Ashworth Bartle, Conductor

Marquis Classics ERAD 133


Randall Thompson: Pelicanus is the Word

American Music From St. Thomas

St. Thomas Church, Fifth Ave, Orchestra of St. Luke’s

KIC-CD 7567


Robert, Shaw: The Carol of The Birds

A Robert Shaw Christmas, Angels on High

Robert Shaw Chamber Singers,

Robert Shaw, Conductor

Telarc 80461


Eric Whitacre: Little Birds

BYU Singers

Eric Whitacre, Conductor

Shadow Water Music


Vaughan Williams: The Turtle Dove


Nigel Short, Conductor

Signum UK 267


Edward Elgar: Owls [An Epitaph]

Finzi Singers

Paul Spicer, Conductor

Chandos 9269


Clement Janequin: Le Chant des Oyseaux

Ensemble Clement Janequin

Dominique Visse, Conductor

Harmonia Mundi Gold HMG501099


Felix Mendelssohn: Im Grünen, Op. 59: no 4, Die Nachtigall

Dresden Kreuz Choir

Roderich Kreile, Conductor

Deutsche Grammophon 459612


George Frederic Handel: Solomon, HWV 67 Final Chorus of Act 1: The Nightingale Chorus

Gabrieli Consort & Gabrieli Players

Paul McCreesh, Conductor

Archiv Produktion (Dg) 459688


Thomas Vautor: The First Set, beeing Songs of Divers Ayres and Natures: Sweet Suffolke Owle

Forbury Consort, Holbein Consort, Trinity Baroque

Julian Podger, Conductor

Griffin 4002


Orlando Gibbons: First Set of Madrigals and Mottets: The silver swanne

Hilliard Ensemble

Virgin Classics Veritas 61671


Orlando Gibbons: First Set of Madrigals and Mottets: Daintie fine bird

The Cambridge Singers members

John Rutter, Conductor

Collegium Records 511


Charles Villiers Stanford: Partsongs (8), Op. 119: no 3, The Bluebird

Oxford New College Choir

Edward Higginbottom, Conductor

Decca 470 384-2


Paul McCartney: Blackbird

King's Singers

Stephen Connolly, Bass; Robin Tyson, Countertenor; Paul Phoenix, Tenor; David Hurley, Countertenor; Christopher Gabbitas, Baritone; Philip Lawson, Baritone

Signum UK 120