Commissioned by Nicholas Dougherty for Josca’s Preparatory School, Frilford. For variable school ensemble: e.g. an ensemble could include 4 wind, 2 brass, 2 tuned percussion, and variable strings (inc;uding guitar, mandolin).
These are little fun pieces to make you think about birds and bees and the out-of-doors. Each of them has its own character, and tricky rhythm is a particular feature of all of them.
Winter with waders. An estuary perhaps, or a flood-plain, with curlews and sandpipers. The melody should be quite expressive, and a little sad and dreamy. For the rhythm, imagine you’re out in a rowing-boat.
Spring with bees. Lots of Bs over everything. Play this with brisk bounce. The odd wrong note won’t matter - it’s the rhythm that drives this piece. In the end it’s one unlucky person’s fate to get stung by a big bee - called Beethoven, perhaps?
Summer with birds. This is very still and relaxed, like sunny fields with a hint of cuckoos and thrushes. Play the melody notes warmly, with vibrato even. All very soft and gentle.
Autumn with ravens. Play the runs to suggest wild weather, and don’t worry too much about the notes. But when you hear the rooks and ravens calling, listen hard and get their magically dissonant cries just right.