Golden Sparrow

for trumpet (2012)
with container of light and electronics
duration is c. 6′

“Golden Sparrow” at the Atlas, DC from Matthew Burtner on Vimeo.


Golden Sparrow (2012) uses a recording of the characteristic song of the sparrow variety living in Alaska’s Chugach State Park. This call was an important part of the spring soundscape of my childhood in the Chugach mountains. The piece begins with the unaltered recorded sparrow. The electronic part was created by time stretching this sample to 100 times its original length. This micro song becomes a gentle harmonic accompaniment over which the trumpet plays a new melody. The trumpet is positioned off stage, or outside the concert space (perhaps in a different time zone and connected by telematics). I imagine the trumpet outdoors, in the evening Alaskan sun. Like a sonic beacon it projects beams of sound into the concert hall. A second performer on the stage listens for the trumpet sound and gradually opens a container of light, releasing the light into the concert space in a theatrical ritual. The piece was composed for Glen Whitehead for EcoSono’s Alaska concert on June 23, 2012 and was premiered by Glen Whitehead (trumpet) and Lori-May Orillo (light). The recording here features Glen Whitehead on trumpet.

performer on stage opens a container of light in response to the sound of the trumpet

score excerpt

score and electronic
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