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Flight Studies: The Snowy Owl

for oboe

Flight Studies: The Snowy Owl is the most recent piece in an ongoing series of compositions for solo woodwind instruments, inspired by the flight patterns of various birds. (The other three composed so far, The Swift, The Kestrel and The Red-Crowned Crane, are for basset clarinet.) The piece attempts to capture the graceful flight of the snowy owl in flowing melodic lines. These are contrasted with staccato rhythms in the oboe’s lower register that convey its characteristic (and rather endearing) waddle, as it chases down smaller creatures such as lemmings, using its wings for balance. Unusual in its preference for hunting during the day, and vast unpredictable migratory routes, the piece is a homage to the majesty and mystery of this sadly endangered species.

Released on Taking Flight, recorded by Anna Durance.

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