The writing took place in spring when all the birds mentioned in the score (except the raven) were singing around the house (or near it) here in Eglisau. The Munchsgrasmucke (blackcap) lived in one of our birch trees and sang gloriously every day. I recorded it and tried to write it down (for the piano). The Zilpzalp (chiffchaff) was always to be heard on our walks: once while Philip Woollaston was here we especially listened to it. Philip commented that the softer chirps that come between the main chiffs and chaffs is like an idling sound, this idling is in the middle register of the piano. The Hausrotschwanz (redstart) has always intrigued me because it also seems to have a movement language (tail movements and "knees full bend"). This is not required of either singer or pianist! but the funny gutteral sounds it makes are. In the case of the piano, the middle registar f and gtt have to be "prepared" with wedges between the strings. The Mauersegler (swifts) live not far away at the power station on the Rhine. We've often sat for long periods watching their spectacular flight and listening to there wild shrieks. The piano part (inside with the left hand, on the keys with the right fist) should give the impression of their faultless, daring, and truly "swift" flight. The piano "Ludi" were added later to bind the cycle together.
Written for Fiona, the composer's daughter
Texts in German by Brigitte Powell