The Orchestra Reborn

Anna Clyne

A Wonderful Day (2013)

For Bass Clarinet, Cello, Double Bass, Percussion, Piano, Guitar, and Recorded Audio
5 Minutes

About the Music

Hailing from London, Anna Clyne is a Grammy-nominated composer of acoustic and electro-acoustic music.  She has been described as a “composer of uncommon gifts and unusual methods” (New York Times).  About herself Clyne states, “My passion is collaborating with innovative and risk-taking musicians, film-makers, visual artists and choreographers.  My intention is to creature music that complements and interacts with other art forms, and that impacts performers and audiences alike.”  Her unique creative environment is clearly depicted in A Wonderful Day, the first of Clyne’s “Chicago Street Portraits.”  The collection combines recordings of local street musicians from the city with live ensembles.  Commissioned by Bang on a Can All Stars (premiered 2013 NY, NY), A Wonderful Day features the pre-recorded singing of Willie Barbee, an elderly man from Chicago whom Ms. Clyne encountered singing on the streets of Chicago.  About her piece Clyne writes, “On a chilly autumn evening, I was walking down Chicago’s Magnificent Mile.  In front of me, an elderly man was slowly strolling . . . he was singing with a raw, slow voice, which had an immediate sense of both joy and struggle.  [I] asked if he’d mind me recording him.  He said yes, and we continued to walk southward as he sang . . . I asked him his name, and whether he’d mind me setting his voice to music.  His face lit up at the idea.”

Tonight's performance of A Wonderful Day is supported by a grant from the Women's Philharmonic Association.


Sung Text:

Good evening
And God bless you
Have a bless
A wonderful, wonderful
A day
hey, hey
Have a bless
A wonderful
A day

Spoken Text:

Willie, Willie Barbee.
I’m from Mississippi.
I’ve been here 58 years.

I heard that Chicago.
That you could come here
And find a job
And,  you know,
Really get on your feet.
But it’s not true.

That’s where I sit at.
I sit there, you know, everyday
From 7 until sometime
And then some.

I used to be out here,
And I was laying homeless.
I started singing,
And my people get to know me.

Willie, Willie Barbee.
I’m from Mississippi.
I’ve been here 58 years.


Artist: Bang on a Can All-Stars
Album: Field Recordings
Apple Music | Spotify

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