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Pelagia is a work combining the transcribed vocalizations of six different "pelagic" or ocean-going species of birds. The opening theme is based on the rhythmic wheezing of the Manx Shearwater, followed by the ascending wail of the Arctic Loon. A dissonant, descending chromatic motif introduces another bouncy theme based on the social vocalizations of the Black-footed Albatross. The 6/8 feel eventually moves into a duple time and then a free-flowing motif based upon the theme of the Pink-footed Shearwater. Then the three opening themes return for one last show before the single notes of the Red Phalarope end the piece.
Since I wrote this piece, two of the species whose vocalizations I transcribed have since been "split": what was considered the "Manx Shearwater" off the California coast is now the "Black-vented Shearwater", and the "Arctic Loon" is now the "Pacific Loon". I mention this only because the vocalizations of these "split" species are marginally different, and the "parent species" are next to non-existent in San Diego waters (the Manx Shearwater is primarily an Atlantic bird, and the Arctic Loon is found primarily in the arctic regions of the Old World and Alaska).
To hear a sample of this work, click here.
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