Nigel (2021)

for clarinet, violin, viola, cello and piano (9′)



“Davison’s work imagines the complexity of emotion held by animals beyond those we habitually attribute to them.” LIMELIGHT

“Nigel tells the story of a bird that fell in love with a statue. Once, many seabirds lived on New Zealand’s Mana Island, but introduced species wiped them out. In an attempt to re-establish a colony, conservationists planted stone birds on Mana and broadcast birdcalls through speakers. The plan failed. Almost. One gannet, Nigel, settled on the island. He fell in love with a stone bird, choosing it as his mate. He built it a nest and there, in solitude, lived out his life. Nigel inspired my composition. Movement one depicts his life on windswept Mana Island, surrounded by statues. Movement two is a pure flight of fancy, charting Nigel’s journey to some kind of bird afterlife. Nigel is an act of mourning and of celebration. It asks us to consider the complex inner lives of animals that we may view them with new and radical compassion.

Nigel is dedicated to Omega Ensemble who commissioned the work as part of the inaugural CoLAB Composer Accelerator Program and premiered it on 4 December 2021 at the Sydney Opera House. ”

Score sample

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Score available from the Australian Music Centre.