CatBird is a 2016 composition for 2 oboes, bass and responsive video. It premiered at Nashville’s Centennial Black Box Theater and toured to Tennessee Tech’s Center Stage Series.
CatBird begins with a graphic score of animal footprints in snow anchored to a staff of power line shadows. Hunsinger created a sound activated “play” button for the video so that it advances only as the instrumentalists play. This fascinating interactive structure forced the players to read quickly as their notes scurried quickly across the screen with each sound.
Next comes the big cat and mirrored bird section. The oboists move to center chairs facing away from each other and begin mimicking each other as simultaneously as possible as they reflect the mirrored birds onscreen. Again, they control the speed and progression of the video with their sounds, abruptly interrupted by the giant watching cat expressed by the solo upright bass slides.
Performed by Robbie Lynn Hunsinger & Roger Wiesmeyer on oboe birds and Missy Raines as the bass cat.