Two Birdflight Impressions

by Lauri Mäntysaari

for quarter-tone piano

Empty sheet

Lauri Mäntysaari

Two Birdflight Impressions

Music Finland


Barn Owl (emerging from the dark) depicts a frightening scene – perhaps an old haunted house – where nothing is quite what it looks like. In these places barn owls fly silently, emerging unexpectedly and launching horror stories about flying ghosts.

The hollow sound of the misterioso melody is created by two layers six octaves and one quarter-tone apart – which sounds confusingly like pure six octaves. In the descending scales towards the end of the work, when the layers reveal their nature by approaching each other octave by octave and ending up just one quarter-tone apart, the feeling is truly spooky.

The Great Migration (on the shores of the Baltic Sea) refers to the astonishing phenomenon happening every spring when numerous ducks, geese and swans form gigantic flocks to migrate towards their nesting area in Siberia. I have tried to reach the deafening noise of the migrating birds by letting tightly woven blocks of quarter-tones resound and slowly grow more and more overwhelming. Interrupted by a few dramatic rests, the music moves back to the upper register and resolves into a Bb overtone chord.

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Two Birdflight Impressions was commissioned by Elisa Järvi to celebrate the new quarter-tone keyboard designed by Elisa Järvi and Sampo Haapamäki and constructed by Otso Haapamäki.This work continues my series of nature-inspired pieces written for Elisa Järvi (the other works being Chats Before Sunrise, op. 7 (2007) for solo piano and Lost Songs, op. 28 (2014) for piano, accordion and tape).





Works for Solo Instrument

Opus no.

op. 32


1. Barn Owl (emerging from the dark), 2. The Great Migration (on the shores of the Baltic Sea)

Commisioned by / dedications

Commissioned by Elisa Järvi

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19 pages

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