This morning, a Sunday, after attending the Carnaval parade of last night, we were serenaded by a vigorous and fully felt orchestral performance of birdsong.There were doves, orioles, great-tailed grackles – too many varieties for this rookie to name. I’m attempting to add a soundtrack to this post of the real Birds concert, which I recorded this morning. We’ll see how I do. And I’ve also provided this clickable link which will transport you directly to some videos and photos of the parade. Don’t miss the wikipedia account in the COMMENT section about a DJ who used to play five minutes of birdsong each morning at the start of his show, for public awakening.
Lurstema’s signature opening pieces, one for each day of the week, were accompanied by his own recordings of chirping birds. Ottorino Respighi’s Ancient Airs and Dances Suite and one of Giovanni Gabrieli’s triple brass quintets were among his opening themes. The show closed with Mozart’s Sinfonia Concertante in E-Flat.
In addition to his calm manner, Lurtsema had a subtle sense of humor. He played the birdsong recording unaccompanied for the first part of his program, before fading in his classical opening piece for the day. On at least one occasion, on April 1, 1982, he celebrated April Fools Day by giving the birds “the morning off” and substituting for them himself. On that morning, waking listeners were greeted by his measured, utterly deadpan voice offering an earnest spoken rendition of birdsong (i.e., “chirp… twitter… chirp… bob-WHITE!… chickadee-dee-dee…”) for the length of time that the birds would normally have been heard unaccompanied. In 1992, his April Fools broadcast featured the birds being replaced by howling wolves. Aware of his reputation for long pauses, on another April Fools Day Lurtsema treated the listeners to a selection of his “best pauses.”
“Another example of Lurtsema’s subtle sense of humor was the morning after the presidential election of 1980. He began the program as usual with a few minutes of birds, followed by that morning’s theme music and his trademark introduction, “Good morning on this Wednesday morning. And now a look at the news, edited and reported by Morning Pro Musica’s host, Robert J. Lurtsema.” Then on that morning he went on to say, “There is no news worth reporting this morning,” and went on with the program!
Well, I’ve reduced the concert to a .wav file, but can’t get it to play thru the link. Sorry. Anybody who wants an audio email of tropical birdsong is invited to email me for it. Put BIRDSONG in the subject line so your precious request is respected and fulfilled. ~eric.
I’d love an email of tropical birdsong. Of all the wonderful sounds of Mexico, it’s one of the ones I love the most.
What a great radio schtick! I would like to figure out how to make birdsong, or alternatively, crickets, the ringtone for my phone.
Hi, Eric–I ditto Debbie–one of my favorite Mexican sounds. I haven’t found your email, but please do send me the file.
CORRECTION: asking for recording here is sufficient. Email not needed, as comments are automatically forwarded to my email. ~eric.
Thanks so much, Eric–the Birdsong is lovely, peaceful, a gem. I sure appreciate it.