Windhover, for piano duo


Print Edition Price: 


Year Authored (or revised): 



two pianos

Duration (min): 


First Performance: 

1/25/10, Faculty Recital, Gorell Recital Hall, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Susan Wheatley, Ellen Kendall, pianos

The composer writes: “The North American Kestrel is a jay-sized bird, characterized by its rusty plumage and pale blue-gray wings. This small hawk has the rare ability to hover in the air, essentially flying in place while scanning the ground in search of prey. Its British counterpart – the Eurasian Kestrel – is called the “windhover” because of this habit. To narrate my musical journey, I chose Hopkin’s poem, which reflects the glory of the falcon’s flight through its sweeping syllables and soaring rhythms.”


“The Windhover” by Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844-1889)

I caught this morning morning's minion, king-
    dom of daylight's dauphin, dapple-dawn-drawn Falcon, in his riding
    Of the rolling level underneath him steady air, and striding
High there, how he rung upon the rein of a wimpling wing
In his ecstasy! then off, off forth on swing,
    As a skate's heel sweeps smooth on a bow-bend: the hurl and gliding
    Rebuffed the big wind. My heart in hiding
Stirred for a bird, - the achieve of, the mastery of the thing!

Brute beauty and valour and act, oh, air, pride, plume, here
    Buckle! AND the fire that breaks from thee then, a billion
Times told lovelier, more dangerous, O my chevalier!

No wonder of it: sheer plod makes plough down sillion
Shine, and blue-bleak embers, ah my dear,
    Fall, gall themselves, and gash gold-vermilion.

Ensemble Type: 

multiple keyboards

Listening Sample: 

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