Skylark Machine

for piano solo

Richard Bullen

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for piano solo

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Composer Richard Bullen
Year of Composition 2015
Duration 3'30"


Categories (all composers) ,
Catalogue ID ce-rb2sm1


The skylark’s distinctive song, a remarkable unbroken stream of sonic exuberance, also possesses to my ears a chaotic machine-like quality – a hyperactive toy with no ‘OFF’ switch! This piece doesn’t attempt an exact representation of the birdsong; rather, it imagines the bird as a little whirring mechanism, which explodes in bold splashes of colour across the keyboard. The blend of biology and machinery, of natural and artificial in Klee’s 1922 watercolour ‘The Twittering Machine’ was also in the back of my mind as I wrote the piece.

The skylark has been honoured in verse by many of our greatest poets, including Shelley, Wordsworth, Cecil Day-Lewis and Christina Rossetti. Some quotations are peppered throughout the score, and aim to help the performer develop their musical interpretation. The powerful imagery of these poems – visual and aural – has inspired the ecstatic yet tranquil sound world.