Night Robin for woodwind quintet

(1992, revised 2013) 13'

Program note

Night Robin for woodwind quintet (1993, rev. 2012) is a nocturnal scene based on an evocative poem by Walter De la Mare. In the poem, a robin, “an odd restless child,” “changeling and solitary,” “secret, sharp and small,” lurks in the shadows of an icy night, flitting “from tree to tree, Calling on all.” Representative of mystery and death, the robin’s presence in this musical setting is personified by the flute while the horn imparts commentary and the remaining instruments function as a “chorus.”

 

A Robin
by Walter de la Mare

Ghost-grey the fall of night,
Ice-bound the lane,
Lone in the dying light
Flits he again;
Lurking where shadows steal,
Perched in his coat of blood,
Man’s homestead at his heel,
Death-still the wood.
Odd restless child; it’s dark;
All wings are flown
But this one wizard’s – hark!
Stone clapped on stone!
Changeling and solitary,
Secret and sharp and small,
Flits he from tree to tree,
Calling on all.

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