A Prayer and Wings
Instrumentation: Solo Instruments: Trombone
A Prayer and Wings was composed in late fall 2008 after a trip to the outer banks of North Carolina and a visit to the Wright Brothers monument in Kitty Hawk. Seeing the memorial drew me to think of those first pioneers of flight, and the fear that they must have had to overcome to attempt to soar toward the horizon.
The first movement, Canto, is a prayer for the airmen, lead by the cantor. It should be performed facing the open piano (full stick) with the bell pointed at the strings. The cantor sings the prayer and then the congregation replies. In this instance, the congregation is not only the more complex rhythms, symbolizing the inaccurate entrances of many people, but also the echo created by the passive piano. The performer may improvise some of the rhythms to create even more echo. The second movement, Wings, is the actual flight, and should be performed facing the audience. The eighth notes are the wind that was the catalyst. Midway through the flight, the airmen begins to recite the prayer to himself (passive piano engaged) and a very slight echo is heard in the distance. Gradually the plane descends back to the ground and mans first flight has occurred. For the pianist, Ped. signifies depressing the sustain pedal, * denotes releasing the pedal.