Sunbird One

24/3/98 for invention ensemble

Composer’s note

Black Sunbird Nectarinia amethystina

A very active and restless bird, continually on the move, with a loud persistent call. Sometimes sits for an hour or more inside a bush or creeper calling monotonously the whole time.

McLachlan & Liversidge Robert’s Birds of South Africa (Third ed.) Cape Town 1970 p.537

This piece was originally conceived for two electric violins, electric viola and electric guitar, but then I decided to be practical and score it for string quartet with optional electronics. This revised version for invention ensemble has allowed me to put the melody back onto electric guitar where it belongs; this is now the definitive version.


First performed 29/5/98, regular part of the repertoire of invention ensemble during the lifetime of the group.


2 Flutes (optional)
2 Stringsynths
Marimba (optional)
Alto sax
Tenor sax (optional)
Electric guitar (with smooth, sustained fuzz)
Electric bass (optional)

Duration ~7’12