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Keeril Makan

Mercury Songbirds

alto flute, clarinet in b-flat, percussion (vibraphone, crotales, log drum), piano (with two eBows), violin, and cello (2008)
Duration12'
CommissionMandel Foundation and the 2008 Utah Arts Festival
PremiereJune 28, 2008; Salt Lake City Public Library, Salt Lake City, UT; musicians from the Utah Arts Festival; Andrew Rindfleisch, conductor
PublisherPSNY

Media

Program Note

Mercury Songbirds was inspired by a 2006 article that reported increased levels of mercury in wild songbirds in the Hudson Valley:

“While mercury has often been found in lakes and streams and in fish, Dr. [David C.] Evers’s work documents the unexpected presence of the chemical in birds that do not live on water and never eat fish…”

“Much of the mercury that is causing problems in New York comes from coal-burning power plants, including those in Ohio and other states in the Midwest. Smokestack emissions from those plants tend to drift eastward. The airborne mercury eventually falls to earth, settling in lakes and streams where it is transformed into methyl mercury, which is toxic.”

“The chemical then enters the food chain through worms and tiny creatures that live on lake bottoms. They are eaten by small fish, which then become prey for larger fish. The amount of mercury is magnified as it goes from smaller species to larger ones.” “Dr. Evers’s work suggests that when mercury falls on land, it is absorbed by soil and by fallen leaves that are consumed by worms and insects. Songbirds then feed on the bugs, absorbing the mercury.” Anthony DePalma, New York Times, July 25, 2006

My work is from the point of view of the songbirds. Their environment is slowly being poisoned, but they are not aware of this. There is a continual hum emanating from the piano, which, though acoustic, is produced by electronic means. It seems like a natural sound coming from the piano, but in its unchanging duration, defies our expectations of how the piano works and also goes unnoticed because of its ubiquity, much as the continual contamination of our environment happens without our awareness or understanding.

Mercury Songbirds was commissioned by the Mandel Foundation and the 2008 Utah Arts Festival. It was written while in residence at the Ucross Foundation.

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Full score and Solo Part (Digital)

Chamber Ensemble Score (Print)

Piano Reduction and solo parts (Digital)

Choral Score Set - 16 copies (Print)
Includes 8 copies of the soprano/alto part and 8 copies of the tenor/bass part.

Score and part (Digital)

Score and part (Print)

Conductor Score (Print)

Full Score/Violin Part (Print)

Full Score/Violin Part (Digital)

Piano reduction and solo part (Print)

Piano/Vocal Score (Print)

Piano/Vocal Score (Digital)

Video and instructions (Digital)

Study Score in Two Volumes (Print)

Score and Parts (Digital)
Score and part PDF files are delivered via email upon receipt. Any electronic files associated with the work are included with every purchase.

Soprano/Alto Part (Print)

Full Score (Digital)
A PDF file of the full score is delivered via email upon receipt.

Full Score (Print)
A print edition of the score ships to the customer's address upon receipt.

Tenor/Bass Part (Print)

Parts (Digital)
A PDF file of the part(s) is delivered via email upon receipt.

Parts (Print)
A print edition of the part(s) ship to the customer's address upon receipt.

Solo Instrument Score (Digital)
A score PDF file is delivered via email upon receipt. Any electronic files associated with the work are included with every purchase. An email containing a link to download the electronic files is sent to the customer's email address.

Full Score/Performance Score (Digital)
The full score serves as a performance score for all players. A score PDF file is delivered via email upon receipt. Any electronic files associated with the work are included with every purchase. An email containing a link to download the electronic files is sent to the customer's email address.

Score and Parts (Print)
A print edition of the score and part(s) ship to the customer's address upon receipt. Any electronic files associated with the work are included with every purchase. The email containing a link to download the electronic files is sent to the customer.

Solo Instrument Score (Print)
A print edition of the score is shipped to the customer's address upon receipt. Any electronic files associated with the work are included with every purchase. An email containing a link to download the electronic files is sent to the customer's email address.

Full Score/Performance Score (Print)
The full score serves as a performance score for all players. Print edition(s) of the full score/performance score are shipped to the customer's address upon receipt. Multiple copies are included if the work has more than one player. Any electronic files associated with the work are included with every purchase.

Choral Score (Digital)
A PDF file of the choral score is delivered via email upon receipt. The set is priced to allow multiple copies of the PDF to be printed for performance by the purchasing organization only.

Choral Score Set- 8 copies (Print)
Minimum order quantity is 8 copies. Single copies are not available.

Vocal Score (Digital)

Vocal Score (Print)

Choral Score (Print)

Full Score and Solo Part (Print)
A print edition of the score and solo part ships to the customer's address upon receipt.

Study Score (Print)

Study Score (Digital)