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Leonardo dreams of his flying machine

First line:
Tormented by visions of flight and falling
author of text

Charles Anthony Silvestri is not only a brilliant poet, teacher and historian, he is a consummate choral singer blessed with a beautiful tenor voice. When Dr Gene Brooks called and asked me to write the 2001 Raymond C Brock Commission, I could think of no other author whose words I would rather set.

We started with a simple concept: what would it sound like if Leonardo Da Vinci were dreaming? And more specifically, what kind of music would fill the mind of such a genius? The drama would tell the story of Leonardo being tormented by the calling of the air, tortured to such degree that his only recourse was to solve the riddle and figure out how to fly.

We approached the piece as if we were writing an opera brève. Charles (Tony to his friends) would supply me with draft after draft of revised ‘libretti’, and I in turn would show him the musical fragments I had written. Tony would then begin to mold the texts into beautiful phrases and gestures as if he were a Renaissance poet, and I constantly refined my music to match the ancient, elegant style of his words. I think in the end we achieved a fascinating balance, an exotic hybrid of old and new.

Leonardo dreams of his flying machine is the second in a planned cycle of element works (the first, Cloudburst, coincidentally, was completed nine years earlier to the day). It is dedicated with much love and respect to my publisher, the radiant and elegant Ms Gunilla Luboff.

from notes by Eric Whitacre © 2020


Cantos sagrados
Studio Master: SIGCD604Download onlyStudio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available


Track-specific metadata for SIGCD604 track 4

Recording date
4 January 2017
Recording venue
New Auditorium of the Royal Concert Hall, Glasgow, Scotland
Recording producer
Alexander Van Ingen
Recording engineer
Mike Hatch & Michael Gerrard
Hyperion usage
  1. Cantos sagrados (SIGCD604)
    Disc 1 Track 4
    Release date: May 2020
    Download only
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