Murmurations

for 15 instruments

Bushra El-Turk

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Composer Bushra El-Turk
Composer

Year of Composition

Instrumentation

Duration

8'

Categories (all composers) ,
Catalogue ID ce-bet1m1

Notes

murmuration – noun literary 1 [ mass noun ] the action of murmuring: the murmuration of a flock of warblers.

2 rare a flock of starlings.

During my artists residency in Gotland’s Visby in Sweden, I was sent a few photos of birds in murmuration. I was struck by the way the birds danced in the air together in a beautiful, graceful synchronicity and yet, within their make-up each bird was flapping in a highly-charged relentlessness. I was awed by a similar grace and charge about Japanese court music which is the pretext for this piece. Adopting the gestures of this ritual – the piccolo which represents the ryuteki, the non vib clarinet and the oboe’s and bassoon’s reeds like the hichiriki, the non vib. string quartet like the sho with its piercing static harmonies and swells for the first section of the piece.

The entire piece revolves around an embellishment of the note C of which the melody is the nuclear melody taken from a violin transcription of an Arabic taqsim (Arabic type of modal improvisation) The piece evolves as textural variations on a theme, made up of three main sections.