The Painted Bird
The Painted Bird
a compostition by Cat Hope (2015 rev 2021)
The score for this piece is the box of ribbons that come with this message. The harpist should take the box of ribbons and use them to construct a piece for harp. The ribbons and strings are carefully chosen for the harpist, as any composer would choose their sonic materials. Yet this is a collaborative composition, where the materials are arranged by the performer for their instrument, that they know so well. It is a response to the inability to be together to try things, across the 2020/2021 pandemic years, with a view to more collaborative processes despite the difficulty of being apart. There is no rule for the use of these materials, the piece can be as long or short as the harpist desires, with electronics and/or voice, or in collaboration with other instruments. Amplification or intimate performance environments are recommended as the sounds are often very small. A different collection of materials is gathered for each harpist that plays the piece. They include materials that have been purchased, but also found and reused. Each collection features at least one piece of re-used gifting ribbon, taken from a gift received in the composer’s household. Some materials may appear in more than one collection. The title of this piece is taken from a novel of by Czech author Jerzy Kosiński. The title describes an incident in the story where a young boy observes a professional bird catcher take one of his captured birds and paint it several colors. The bird is released to fly in search of a flock of its kin, but when it does find them, they saw it as an intruder and viciously attack the bird until it fell from the sky.