An Audience with the Trees

2005

Six-channel sound installation for a woodland environment

An Audience with the Trees (2005) is the first in a series of bird box installations. It was originally installed along Addison’s Walk, Oxford to coincide with the annual May Morning celebrations at Magdalen College. The installation was subsequently exhibited in 2007 in the courtyard of the Saïd Business School, Oxford, produced by Oxford Contemporary Music .

An Audience with the Trees at the Saïd Business School, Oxford, June 11-13, 2007

An Audience with the Trees is a reworking—via synthesized birdsong—ofVivaldi’s Menagerie (2003), Nicholas Brown’s concerto for violin and strings, which is itself a reworking of Antonio Vivaldi’s famous collection of violin concertos, The Four Seasons. Six bird boxes are attached to six trees. Each bird box broadcasts one of the six instrumental parts from Vivaldi’s Menagerie, using audio samples of bird calls recorded in rural Oxfordshire. A sextet of synthetic ‘birds’ gives a ‘performance’ of Vivaldi’s Menagerie. The installation ‘reverses’ the premise of Vivaldi’s concertos, in which string players imitate birdsong. In An Audience with the Trees, electronic ‘birds’ imitate a concerto.