The Lost Birds, Christopher Tin’s elegy for the increasing extinction of bird species, is now published by Boosey & Hawkes as a vocal score, providing the choral materials for performance in a range of possible versions.
Boosey & Hawkes is pleased to announce the publication of the complete vocal score of Christopher Tin's The Lost Birds, as well as separate octavos of individual movements available in print or as digital downloads. The 45-minute work, composed for and recorded by VOCES8, is a soaring elegy for the loss of bird species due to human activity. According to Tin, the music serves as "a warning: that unless we reverse our course, the fate that befell these once soaring flocks will be a foreshadowing of our own extinction".
> Listen to the VOCES8 recording
This release offers versatile options for mixed choirs: the original instrumentation with chorus, harp, timpani, percussion, and string orchestra, as well as intimate chamber versions for piano quintet and chorus or string quartet, harp, and chorus. The new vocal score is compatible with all versions. Alternatively, choirs can now perform selected individual movements from The Lost Birds thanks to new choral octavos, making the music available for a cappella performance.
Music from The Lost Birds was first performed by VOCES8 in a live stream from Kings Place in its Live from London series in November 2022 and the premiere of the complete work followed in Stanford Live’s season in California in February 2023. The Australian premiere is scheduled by the Queensland Symphony Orchestra for 8 June 2024 in Brisbane, again with VOCES8.
Christopher Tin answers questions about the music for The Lost Birds:
What were your main considerations with the vocal writing? And how is the piece accessible to groups of all abilities?
When composing The Lost Birds, I was keenly attuned to the text setting, and set the words in the most natural-sounding way possible so that the audience would be able to understand the lyrics as they were listening to the music. They're among the easiest pieces to learn in my catalogue--all the movements are tuneful and harmonically accessible, and it's sung entirely in English. And while there are certainly sections where I took advantage of VOCES8's extensive vocal range, in most cases I also supplied alternate parts for singers who might not have the same range.
What moments should choirs look out for in The Lost Birds? Are there any motifs or themes that are particularly close to your heart?
The Lost Birds was conceived very motivically, so many melodies return throughout the piece. The overture Flocks a Mile Wide contains many of those themes, including a very soaring, lyrical melody that gets reprised in the final movement Hope Is the Thing with Feathers. That movement has some personal meaning for me, as it was the piece that my wife processed down the aisle to at our wedding.
Why should choirs programme The Lost Birds?
I think The Lost Birds can make for great spring programming. It's filled with meaning, both in the Romantic-era depictions of birds and their symbolism, but also through the writings of four 19th-century female poets (Emily Dickinson, Sara Teasdale, Christina Rossetti and Edna St. Vincent Millay) who experienced first-hand the loss of biodiversity at the height of the industrial revolution. There are plenty of visuals that can be used, including a forthcoming set of projections that feature the lyrics, that can be synchronized to a live performance. And on top of that, there are ample opportunities to build community engagement and educational programming around the topic of the piece, which day by day, becomes more and more topical.
> Explore The Lost Birds versions
Christopher Tin is a two-time GRAMMY-winning composer of concert music, film, and game scores, based in Santa Monica in California. With his music exceeding 100 million views on YouTube, he is one of the most listened-to and performed hybrid artists straddling the contemporary classical and media worlds. From concert works for Carnegie Hall to a big-band track for the blockbuster film Crazy Rich Asians and the game franchise, Civilization, Tin’s music has global appreciation. His catalogue of concert works includes Calling All Dawns, The Drop That Contained the Sea, To Shiver the Sky and The Lost Birds, including much-performed choral highlights such as Baba Yetu and Sogno Di Volare. He is published by Boosey and Hawkes and signed to Universal Music. For more information visit www.christophertin.com
> Further information on Work: The Lost Birds
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