High Flight – Choir with Saxophone
Date: June 18, 2009
An exciting new setting for SATB choir and alto saxophone of the official poem of the NASA space programme. . .
- “High Flight is a transcendent experience. Christopher Marshall has musically created a sensation of soaring and wonder that brought all of the performers to an amazingly euphoric state. I think it is an expressive experience that none of us will soon forget. I am also grateful that he wrote a piece for saxophone and voices, a combination that sees little attention but that works so beautifully, as evidenced here." – Gregory Ruffer
The Orlando Chorale commissioned High Flight in 2008 and gave the world premiere under the direction of Gregory Ruffer with George Weremchuk on saxophone in March 2009. This was followed just a month later by the New Zealand premiere: Viva Voce Choir under John Rosser, Yvette Audain on saxophone.
11 minutes in duration and technically challenging in places High Flight requires stamina and great expressive input both from choir and saxophone soloist.
Both performances, in Orlando FL and Auckland NZ met with an overwhelmingly warm reception:
- “…..the finest musical rendering of the sonnet we have heard…..performed beautifully…..The notion of the solo saxophone is really inspired, we feel.” Hugh Magee, brother of the poet, of the FL performance.
- “The piece garnered many favourable comments; in fact it vied with the Whitacre as concert highlight.” John Rosser, conductor, NZ.
- “a waterfall of beautiful sound falling over us”, Tui Parr, audience member, NZ.
Some programming suggestions from these two performances:
- Flight: When I Land – Greg Bartholomew, Lasciatemi Fly to Death – Luciano Lunkes, Leonardo Dreams Of His Flying Machine – Eric Whitacre, Love Winged My Hopes – Thomas Morley, On Wings Of Song – Felix Mendelssohn, The Blue Bird – Charles Villiers Stanford – along with any number of modern popular songs in arrangement.
- Choir with saxophone: American Voices – Catherine McMichael
And please feel free to download the two recordings of High Flight:
- World Premiere – recording used by kind permission of The Orlando Chorale
- New Zealand Premiere – recording made available by kind permission of Radio New Zealand for audition purposes only.
Please contact me
for more information, or to arrange a performance of this work by your choir.