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Sharing releases, present and past, to brighten your day. WXXI Classical has its eyes and ears on the latest releases from classical artists working today. When we come across a story or a release we think you might enjoy, we’ll be sharing it with you on CD Spotlight. You’ll learn more about the artists online at WXXI Classical, and you’ll hear selections from these artists on FM 91.5. CD Spotlight shares new releases by artists that you’ll want to know and some by great artists and ensembles that deserve to be in the spotlight again.

CD Spotlight: The Lost Birds by Christopher Tin

CD cover of The Lost Birds by Christopher Tin
CD cover of The Lost Birds by Christopher Tin

There was a time when our skies were filled with birds. And slowly, and inexorably, the birds began to vanish. Species disappeared. The Passenger Pigeon. The Ivory-billed Woodpecker. The Dodo. All gone.

Composer Christopher Tin gives us The Lost Birds, his musical memorial to all the birds that have been driven to extinction by humankind. Sung by the British vocal ensemble VOCES8, it is a CD that is both sweeping and elegiac, a haunting tribute to those avian songs that have been silenced. But it’s also a celebration of the beauty they have brought into our world and their symbolism as messengers of hope, peace, and renewal. It is a gentle and beautiful warning to protect our fragile ecosystem.

Tin used Kickstarter to fund the making of the CD with phenomenal success: 2, 285 backers chipped in a total of $225,472 to make it happen. Recorded in the Abbey Road Studios with Tin conducting the Royal Philharmonic, he has created a release that is elegant and entrancing. The songs use the poetry of four 19th century poets: Emily Dickinson, Christina Rosseti, Edna St. Vincent Millay, and Sara Teasdale. “These women,” says Tin, “saw their world transform from a pastoral society to an industrial one – one in which humans, for the first time, began disastrously reshaping the environment. And the poems which I selected depict an increasingly fraught world: first without birds, and ultimately without humans.” And we are witnessing that change every day.

“As bird, fish, animal, and insect populations crash around us,” Tin continues, “we increasingly find ourselves in a silent world – one in which the songs of the birds are heard less and less. We hope that the silence can be filled by more voices speaking up on behalf of these last birds – for their sake and ours.” So raise your voice as you immerse yourself in The Lost Birds.

A Strong Memorial baby and Greece Arcadia grad, Julia Figueras was the Music Director and mid-day host for WXXI Classical until June 30, 2023 when she retired after more than 26 years of service. She also hosted the award-winning monthly interview/performance show, Backstage Pass.