In honor of Leap Day, here is a photo of a Great Horned Owl confronting a squirrel, taken by my friend, the talented photographer and birder, Benito Chia. Could you imagine their dialogue? Suggestions are more than welcome.
On a completely unrelated note, my new favorite classical music radio station (WNED) recently broadcast a special episode dedicated to — you guessed it — music inspired by birds (in one way or another). I caught the tail end of a piece by Olivier Messiaen, who was obsessed with bird songs and circumnavigated the world (or parts thereof) in search of exotic songs (he was a fairly gifted ornithologist as well as astonishingly gifted composer). And then, I encountered the music of Dutch composer Alphons Diepenbrock (1862-1921) who was a classicist as well as a composer! Toward the end of his life, he wrote incidental music to accompany great works of Greek and Latin literature, including Sophocles’ Elektra, and, more to the point of this blog, Aristophanes’ The Birds, which he composed in 1917. Here it is, in all its glory!
Who knew that while revolutions were thundering through Russia, back in Amsterdam Mr. Diepenbrock had birds on his mind! Happy Leap Day, everyone!