The Nightingale Concerto is a work for solo recorder and a Covid-conscious orchestra of strings and percussion. The work is inspired by, and structured exactly like, the John Keats poem "Ode to a Nightingale" - in eight stanzas. Soloist Heloise Degrugillier and the New Bedford Symphony Orchestra, for whom the work was composed, will premiere 3 stanzas from the work in March, 2021. As part of the project, I was asked to extract melodies from 2 of the stanzas and create pieces for beginning recorder students to play based on these melodies.
"In Fairy Lands Forlorn" is taken from the seventh stanza of the concerto. Here the poet reflects on the timelessness of the Nightingale's song, and imagines how it may have comforted ancient kings, clowns, and even the biblical Ruth, in times of sadness or longing. Both the concerto and its adaptations include moments of improvisation, so this is a fun one in which to exercise your sense of freedom and imagination on the instrument.
"In Fairy Lands Forlorn" includes an opportunity for improvisation in the soprano part, and the composer's performance in the recording is just one example of what can be done.