The Birds (Recording)

The Birds is a track featured on the CD, “The Story of Percussion in the Orchestra”.

William Cahn joined the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra as principal percussionist after graduating form the Eastman School of Music in 1968.

Click here to download liner notes.

The Birds is featured on the CD, “The Story of Percussion in the Orchestra”.

Originally composed for NEXUS unaccompanied, The Birds was orchestrated in 1983. The percussion parts are scored for harmonicas, cymbals, gongs, rattles, shakers, pianoforte, and dozens of bird calls collected from all over the world. Included among the calls are various types of nightingale, dove, turkey, duck, goose, loon and quail instruments (whistles, reed-calls, and scrapers). There are two primary musical elements in the composition. The first is a simple C-minor cadence to suggest the solemnity of the symphonic music of European Romanticism. The second element consists of an overlying montage of distinctly non-symphonic sounds – sometimes beautiful, sometimes raucous and absurd – made by the bird calls. It is in the interplay of these two musical extremes – the profound and the frivolous – that the music seeks to stimulate both humor and contemplation.

Audio File Type

MP3, 44.1 WAV