Christopher Tin’s oratorio To Shiver the Sky receives its world premiere in May 2022 with the Choral Arts Society of Washington, the United States Air Force Band, and ModernMedieval.
Presented by Washington Performing Arts, two-time GRAMMY-winning composer Christopher Tin’s oratorio, To Shiver the Sky, premieres live on stage at the Anthem on May 15, 2022, with the United States Air Force Band, the Choral Arts Society of Washington, ModernMedieval, and Christopher Tin conducting.
Tin describes To Shiver the Sky as “an oratorio about the history of flight, and mankind’s quest to conquer the heavens.” Each of the 11 movements are set to words by different historical figures—extraordinary astronomers, inventors, visionaries, and pilots from around the world—such as John F. Kennedy, Nicolaus Copernicus, Hildegard von Bingen, and Ferdinand von Zeppelin.
The official recording was released on August 21, 2020, on Decca Gold with the Royal Philharmonic, Royal Opera Chorus, Danielle de Niese, and Pene Pati. The oratorio is sung in English, Latin, Italian, German, French, Polish, Russian, and Sanskrit, and is scored for tenor, soprano, early music trio, children’s chorus, adult chorus and orchestra.
> Listen to the full album on Spotify
The premiere of To Shiver the Sky was originally planned for May 2020. On the heels of the album release, Washington Performing Arts and the United States Air Force Band presented an online event entitled “To Shiver the Sky: An Inside Look” in place of the scheduled live performance. The event featured the filmed world premiere of one of the movements, “Courage,” set to the words of Amelia Earhart and performed by renowned soprano Danielle de Niese.
The program also included contributions from two major figures in aviation and exploration: Charlie Blackwell-Thompson, Launch Director (NASA) at John F. Kennedy Space Center; and Dr Michelle Thaller, Astrophysicist and Astronomer (NASA), Goddard Space Flight Center.
> View the online presentation
Tin’s oratorio continued to reach audiences in January 2021 when the Stay At Home Choir brought together 3,600 singers from around the world, accompanied by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, to virtually rehearse and create a filmed performance of Sogno di Volare (The Dream of Flight), the opening movement of To Shiver the Sky and theme music for the video game, Civilization VI. This exuberant movement sets Leonardo da Vinci’s writings on flight, featuring gradually building waves of choral and orchestral sound.
> Watch Sogno di Volare with the Stay at Home Choir
TO SHIVER THE SKY by Christopher Tin
Movements of the oratorio:
SOGNO DI VOLARE (“THE DREAM OF FLIGHT”)
Lyrics from Leonardo da Vinci’s writings on flight (sung in Italian)
THE HEAVENLY KINGDOM
Lyrics from Hildegard von Bingen: “Scivias” (sung in Latin)
DAEDALUS AND ICARUS
Lyrics from Ovid’s “Metamorphoses” (sung in Latin)
Lyrics from Dante Alighieri’s “Divine Comedy” (sung in Italian)
Lyrics from Nicolaus Copernicus’ “De Revolutionibus Orbium Coelestium” (sung in Polish)
TO THE STARS
Lyrics from Jules Verne’s “De la Terre a` la Lune” (sung in French)
OH, THE HUMANITY
Lyrics from speeches by Ferdinand von Zeppelin (sung in German)
A setting of Amelia Earhart’s poem ‘Courage’ (sung in English)
Lyrics from the Bhagavad Gita, as quoted by J. Robert Oppenheimer (sung in Sanskrit)
THE POWER OF THE SPIRIT
Lyrics from quotes by Yuri Gagarin (sung in Russian)
WE CHOOSE TO GO TO THE MOON
Lyrics from John F. Kennedy’s Address at Rice University on the Nation’s Space Effort
Sunday, May 15 at 7:00 PM ET
The Anthem (Washington, DC)
The United States Air Force Band
Col Don Schofield, commander and conductor
Christopher Tin, conductor
The Choral Arts Society of Washington
Scott Tucker, artistic director
> Further information on Work: To Shiver the Sky
Photo: Alfredo Chocano
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