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Avian Suite (score & parts) - WW5

Composer: Berk, Stacey J.

Publisher: Cocobolo Music Press (Stacey Berk)

Edition: 59006


Avian Suite
for woodwind quintet: flute, oboe, clarinet, horn, and bassoon
by Stacey J. Berk (b. 1970) - American composer
I. Eagle
II. Chickadee
III. Owl
IV. Swan
V. Hummingbird


In Avian Suite, the colorful timbres and techniques available in the instruments of the quintet are utilized to capture the characteristics of five contrasting birds. In Eagle, the open intervals and melodic embellishments lend a Native American feel to the introduction. This carries the listener to the magnificent open plains where the music gradually swells into a soaring theme before returning to rest at the end. Chickadee is the most literal translation of birdsong in the suite, with Cick-a-dee-dee-dees" and "phoe-bes" used as motivic material. In addition, the movement attempts to capture the perky, inquisitive nature of the little bird. Owl is a shift into a dark forest, with creepy night noises and the bassoon taking the lead with a spooky octatonic melody. Swan characterizes the beauty of the majestic bird as it sweeps through the water. Hummingbird is a rondo that uses the quintet to emulate a tiny bird that zooms in and out of sight as it hovers and zips around with its lightning-quick wings.

Kimberly Horton and The Polaris Wind Quintet commissioned Avian Suite and premiered it in February 2011.