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Hummingbird Dreams

solo piano (2019)

Natalia Kazaryan, piano


details

Duration: 6:30
Commissioned by: Astral Artists
Premiere: December 15, 2019
Natalia Kazaryan, piano
American Philosophical Society, Philadelphia, PA

View a sample score
 


program note

I was housesitting on the West Coast when I started to write Hummingbird Dreams. There were numerous hummingbird feeders spread around a long porch that spanned the width of the house, and all day, as many as 40 hummingbirds would take advantage of this sugar water buffet. They became especially active at dusk, and then just as the sun disappeared, so did the entire flurry of hummingbirds.

Curious about where these little whirlwind creatures went at night, I did some research and discovered their fascinating sleep cycle. Hummingbirds sleep hanging upside down from branches, and their metabolism slows to a near standstill—completely opposite their daytime body rhythm. When the sun rises, their metabolism slowly speeds back up; the process requires 20 to 30 minutes. I wondered what they might dream about in their state of torpor, and how they are able to time their migration routes to the day, year after year.

My compositional language embraces different sorts of contrast, and this work for piano juxtaposes several formal and textural elements such as quick, angular lines set against slower, smoothly flowing phrases. At times they are presented side by side, and at others, they are overlaid one on top of one another. There is a great deal of “bird energy“ woven into the music!


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