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Birds Études-Tableaux for piano by Andrew Higgins. Includes six modern virtuoso studies for the advanced level in different characters and techniques.
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Penguins (a study in bi-tonality and chromatics) Is it possible not to love penguins? Their bodies so ill-fitted for land and yet so graceful in water: they lead a double life; a polytonal life of joie de vivre and exuberance on the one hand, and clownish clumsiness on the other. What fun!
A Wise Old Owl (a study in control and tempo) A wise old owl sits on a fence. He watches as we walk past. We stop and stare. He blinks and then stares right back. Hypnotic and enigmatic, he drops from his perch and disappears into the twilight.
The Swan (a study for 3 against 2) She glides effortlessly across a still lake; darting first this way then that before dipping her head into the deep, dark, black water. Silence pervades but for the graceful motion of her limbs and the gentle rustle of the water in her wake.
Albatross (a study in three-part playing) Destined to live a life in the sky, outstretched wings catch the thermal rise and the gentle breezes, day and night, searching, seeking. A lonely heartbeat constant and calm, a sad song carried across the waves into the distance; a journey long and full of hope.
Hummingbirds (a study in flexible rhythms and rubato) I sat enjoying English tea with my host Dr Amanda Vick Lethco and outside the garden feeder received regular visits from a delightful electric blue-green hummingbird. Beak stretched and wings murmuring hypnotically in the warm New England air – I knew I had to capture this moment.
Lovebirds (a study in improvisation) Every morning through the window I see them, two lovebirds dancing on the wire. She is coy, he is ambitious. First he coos, then swoons, then dances. He flutters his wings and she flies away, teasing, and he follows thinking how to impress her now?
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