June Emerson Wind Music
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Printed Edition
Composer:Haigh, Robin (b.1993)
Publisher Ref:E792
Two distinct pieces influenced by birdsong. Winner of the 2021 BDRS Composition Competition Howarth of London Open Prize for Oboe Composition.

Price: £6.95
Skill Level:E
Series Title:BDRS Commissions
Publisher:Emerson Edition Ltd
Year of Issue:2023
ISBN:none specified
Robin Haigh writes:
BEAK and WORM are a pair of distinct pieces, each partly influenced by recent encounters with particularly loud and beautiful birdsong. Like many composers, when I write music, I gradually build up a piece one bar at a time, trying to find the best idea to follow the last, eventually culminating in something that is performed in a fraction of the time it took to write. Hearing birds loudly and spontaneously creating something quite akin to virtuosic woodwind music led to an artistic question; why can these creatures create such beautiful and special music so quickly and easily when it takes me so long?
Neither of these pieces directly mimic birdsong, but these thoughts of the spontaneity, freedom, and beauty of birds were at play throughout the writing process. The title of BEAK was inspired by what I perceived as a visual similarity between a bird’s beak and the oboe’s exposed reed, which is used a great deal with many pitch bends and vibrato effects. The melody of WORM is an elaboration upon a very simple tune from my earlier piece AESOP 2, and though it shares similar techniques and timbres with BEAK, it inhabits a rather different emotional world. While BEAK is a fanciful flight, WORM could be the solemn wish of a worm, or person, to taste the freedom of flight and music with which birds are blessed.

Irish/British composer Robin Haigh (b.1993) studied at Goldsmiths College, the Royal Academy of Music and the University of York with Dmitri Smirnov, Edmund Finnis, David Sawer and Martin Suckling, and worked as an assistant to Sir Harrison Birtwistle.
He works internationally with leading orchestras and soloists, writing pieces of ‘scintillating unpredictability’ (Tom Service, BBC Radio 3). Haigh’s work, which has been described as ‘timeless’, ‘dream-like’ (Musical Opinion Magazine) and ‘remarkably discombobulating' (Seen and Heard International) is regularly honoured with national and international prizes, having won an Ivor Novello Award (2020), a British Composer Award (2017), the Royal Philharmonic Society Composition Prize, the William Mathias Composition Prize, the Dante Moro Competition, the WCCMF Competition, and the Composer Slam European Championship.

The 2021 BDRS Composition Competition
With the aim of raising the profile of the oboe and bassoon as solo instruments by engaging with the composing community, the British Double Reed Society launched its inaugural composition competition in the summer of 2021. Open to composers of any age with a connection to the United Kingdom, the competition offered two open prizes and an under-19 prize, each of which took the form of a commission to write a new work for an unaccompanied double reed instrument.
Robin Haigh was awarded the Howarth of London Open Prize for Oboe Composition. His commissioned work, BEAK and WORM, was premiered by Nicholas Daniel OBE at the BDRS ‘Double Reed Discovery Day’ at Leicester Museum and Art Gallery on 18th September 2022.

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