The mystery of man's fascination with flight is captured in Greg Danner's musical journey, On Great White Wings. The piece depicts the trials, challenges and ultimate success of achieving flight. A beautiful score with rich textures and effective use of every instrument by a first-rate composer.
Genre: Band | # of Players: Standard
Level: 4 | Duration: 9:30
Bb Clarinet 1
Bb Clarinet 2
Bb Clarinet 3
Eb Alto Saxophone 1
Eb Alto Saxophone 2
Bb Tenor Saxophone
Eb Baritone Saxophone
Bb Trumpet 1
Bb Trumpet 2
Bb Trumpet 3
F Horn 1/2
F Horn 3/4
Percussion 1 (roto toms (or concert toms), tambourine, vibraphone)
Percussion 2 (suspended cymbal, sleigh bells, bells, mark tree)
Percussion 3 (suspended cymbal, snare drum)
Percussion 4 (bass drum)
Percussion 5 (tam tam, triangle, chimes, claves)
"There is no sport equal to that which aviators enjoy while being carried through the air on great white wings."
- Wilbur Wright
Mankind's dream of flight became a reality in the early 1900s when two brothers from Dayton, Ohio determined to solve the mysteries of the air. Orville and Wilbur Wright, from humble beginnings with their bicycle shop, methodically experimented with various designs and techniques to develop the world's first powered aircraft - the first great invention of the 20th century and an accomplishment that would herald the age to come.
On Great White Wings is a musical portrayal of four scenes in this quest for flight. The opening section, "A Dream of Flight," is a brass and percussion fanfare suggesting the noble spirit of those pioneers who dared to explore this frontier. Part two, "The 1902 Glider," presents a lyrical, graceful melody that seems to float above the animated accompaniment. The music depicts not only the elegance of the glider, but hints at the occasional difficulty of control with some musical tongue-in-cheek "bumps". "December 17,1903: First Flight!" begins with a mood of anticipation to characterize this historic date. Two themes are presented and developed, both embracing the wonder and inspiration felt from this remarkable event. The fourth scene, "A New Age," reprises the material from Part one with the full ensemble and moves into an exhilirating finale which suggests the excitement and hopefulness that the Wright brothers' achievement meant for the century to come.
"We bowed our heads before the mystery of it and then lifted our eyes with a new feeling in our souls that seemed to link us all, and hope sprang eternal for the great new future of the world."
- Mary M. Parker, after seeing the first airplane fly over Chicago in 1910.