Hosted By Stephen Peithman

Exploring the often surprising links between concepts, themes and people in classical music, from medieval to modern


Saturday, 4 p.m. – 5 p.m.
Rebroadcast Sunday, 2 p.m. – 3 p.m.
on Music Station

 We Get Support From:
Become a Supporter 
 We Get Support From:
Become a Supporter 

Saturday, March 3, 2018 Permalink

The Avian Connection 2

Swans in flight -- a major inspiration for composer Jean Sibelius


In June of 1787, there was an unusual funeral procession in the household of one Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart—for the composer’s pet starling. 

He had bought the bird three years before, and in the expense book where he’d written the price, he’d also jotted down the melody the bird was singing when he bought it.  

That melody became the chirping opening of the final movement of the Piano Concerto No. 17 in G minor.

Inspiration of this sort isn’t unusual.  Many composers have drawn on the sound world of birds, or described them in musical terms.

We explored some of these influences in another program, but had to leave out many more—which may have ruffled some feathers.

So, in this hour, more avian-inspired music, in works by Handel, Haydn, Brahms, Ravel, Beach, Sibelius and more.


Title Group/Artist Catalog # UPC
Mozart: Piano Concertos Murray Perahia. English Chamber Orchestra Sony 88691914112 886919141122
Handel: Complete Organ Concertos  Simon Preston, English Concert, Trevor Pinnock Archiv Produktion  289 469 358-2 0289469358283
Vivaldi: Four Seasons Janine Jansen  and ensemble Decca 475 6188 028947561880
Sibelius: Symphony No 5 Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Simon Rattle EMI  Classics 7647372 077776473727
Sibelius: Finlandia, The Swan of Tuonela, etc. Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, Herbert von Karajan Deutches Grammophon 413 755-2 028941375520
Beach: Piano Music- Volume 4, The Late Works [for “A Humming-bird”] Kirsten Johnson Guild GM 7387W 795754738728
Casals Encores [for “The Song of the Birds”] Pablo Casals, Prades Festival Orchestra Sony Classical 66573 074646657324
Braunfels: Die Vögel (The Birds) German Symphony Orchestra, Berlin, Lothar Zagrosek Decca 448 679-2 028944867923
Brahms:  Liebeslieder Waltzes Robert Shaw Festival Singers Telarc D110548 089408032622
Ravel: Works for Solo Piano [for “Oiseaux Tristes”] Jean-Yves Thibaudet Decca 433 515-2 0028942586024
Igor Stravinsky Edition [for The Bluebird] Columbia Symphony Orchestra, Igor Stravinsky Sony SX22K46290 0074644629026
Rimsky-Korsakov: Overtures and Suites from the Operas  [for The Snow Maiden] Scottish National Orchestra, Neeme Jarvi Chandos 10369(2) X 095115136928

More From Connections