Mo(u)rning is a site-specific piece performed in Prospect Park, NYC on World Migratory Bird Day by Euphonium players Christopher McIntyre and Weston Olencki.
I composed this piece based on the songs of bird species spotted in the park on World Migratory Bird Day last year, 2020, as my way to thank these creatures for all the sonic uplift they brought me during the lockdown in New York. The piece is also my salute to the park, which throughout the pandemic provided musicians a place to do what we love most after the crisis cut our access to our studios and venues.
The two performers, Christopher McIntyre and Weston Olencki, embody fanciful avian species communicating with each other throughout the park as birds there do every day – chatting, flirting, threatening, showing off. A click track, playing through their headphones, delivers performance guidelines and a selection of actual recorded birdcalls, manipulated in various ways to explore their timbrical and rhythmic qualities. As McIntyre and Olencki navigate a predetermined route through the park, the players receive timed instructions to imitate the modified calls with their instruments, or to use them as departure phrases for improvisatory solos.
Photos by Michael Sugarman: