Thursday, 23 July 2009


I have always had a fascination with singing, as a child I was always asked to sing the Christmas carol, and I found singing in choirs to be more challenging than anything else. I was surrounded by song, Jessye Norman, Rosa Ponselle, Maria Callas, Felicity Lott, and through my mother who was an opera singer, I became a lover of music. I would demand to listen to Fischer Dieskau's, Erl-Koenig, and say scare me Mummy scare me. I loved her singing. She would rush me through singing grades over a week end. Sadly I never had her voice, but I love it with a passion. I have dreams of singing at the Dartington Summer school, and my son is going. Charles has ability, and so song goes to another generation. His passion is finding rare footage of famous divas, so wherever I go it is a cultural haven.

Digging around the internet, therefore, is the reason why I have become an insomniac, I realize I spend hours trying to find out obscure information, which makes for exciting times. Backed up with You Tube there is no reason to ever sleep. Mozart, I discovered, last night borrowed the singing techniques of his pet starling. Great composers such as Beethoven, were inspired by the song of a blackbird. Birds have a large vocal repertoire of melodies and sounds and when I used to keep canaries I noticed that they loved Mozart and used to go very quiet when I put on Strauss, for instance. The more commercial the sound, especially Marriage of Figaro, the happier they were, I understand, the Starling is noted for singing out of tune and creating other dissonant sounds. Mozart was fascinated by the songs it sang. Mozart's "A Musical Joke" (the K522 divertimento) composed eight days after the starling died, was in fact based on the bird's song. It is not quite the quality of Mozart, what's going on? The interpretation, was obviously an imitation of the Starlings voice. The composition mimics the dissonance of the starling, the ability of starlings to intertwine, and sing in two different voices, whistling tunes while also singing one off key. The Starling can start and stop at will, in mid sentence, Mozart copied this. I have had no sleep, and love the sound of birds outside my window at dawn. Falling into a deep sleep to K453 is a delicious experience.

When I was young I listened to if the bird had musical ability. I am truly going to try and find a Starling right away, before I had thought of them as a bit scary now I shall look at them with love.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi! Starlings are mysterious and amazing! My pet starling was saved from being thrown away in a trash can at the airport! He can talk, whistle songs and understand commands. Visit his website:!
Birdie Hugs,