Flights Ascending by Heather Gilligan

June 16, 2016  |   Posted In



By Heather Gilligan

Flights Ascending was composed for a Hong Kong-based orchestra and had its world premiere at the Washington D.C. International Music Festival. In early conversations, the conductor asked for a piece that would function well as an opening number, with and energetic, upbeat rhythm. That idea led to an initial declamatory statement which serves as the basis for nearly all of the material that comes after it. In writing the piece, I intended to capture true “Americana” with open harmonies, a feeling of vast space, and an impression of flight that would allow a listener to view the grandeur of America's great land formations. Open harmonies originate with intervals of 4ths and 5ths, which also happen to occur within the pentatonic scale. My work merges the two: a prevailing pentatonicism combines with these more open harmonies to produce an interesting hybrid of both eastern and western influences. Every section begins with melodic material that ascends from low to high, and so both the shape and character of the work are truly reflected in its title, Flights Ascending.

Duration: 7.5 minutes
Grade Level: 4

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Additional information

Weight .1 lbs
Dimensions 0.004 × 11 × 17 in

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