By What Wings (2015)

an elegy for five male voices

Duration: ca. 4'30"
  • First Reading
    November 5, 2015
    Baldwin Auditorium, Duke University
    Durham, NC

By What Wings was written for Amarcord’s residency at Duke University, and is dedicated to those we have lost in recent years:

Willie Pratt Lee
Agnes Vernelle Robinson Lee
Donna Rae Collins Link
Betty Louise Anderson Patterson
William Morris Raymund

The text for Elegy comes from the obituary of Captaine Georges Guynemer, a French pilot who disappeared in battle in September of 1917. The obituary was written by Henri Lavedan and published in the October 6, 1917 edition of the French magazine, L’Illustration. The translation reads:

He was neither seen nor heard as he fell, his body and his machine were never found. Where has he gone? By what wings did he manage to glide into immortality? Nobody knows: nothing is known. He ascended and never came back, that is all. Perhaps our descendents will say: He flew so high that he could not come down again.