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On the Wings of Morning

On the Wings of Morning

Naff, George


  • Ensemble: Concert Band
  • Genre: Modern Classical
  • Grade: 4
  • Duration: 7.0 minutes
  • Catalog Number: AOS1696

On Wings of the Morning (from Psalm 139)

Commissioned by and dedicated to: Dr. Stephen Campbell Etters, Director of Bands and Chair Department of Music Catawba College Salisbury, North Carolina and the Catawba College Wind Ensemble

About the Music

On Wings of the Morning is based on Psalm 139 vs. 7-10: Whither shall I go from thy spirit or whither shall I flee from thy presence? If I ascend up into heaven, thou are there; if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me.

This piece uses the "light" of the morning as a metaphor for Divine love - ubiquitous - always present, inclusive, even inescapable, for all people wherever one finds oneself in the world - east or west - even in the depths of the sea.

The metaphor of "light" begins with the Maestoso introduction representing a majestic sunrise. The phrase "Wings of the Morning" represents the movement of this light as the dawn "dances" across the sky from east to west. The Andante Cantible section represents a soft, soothing, healing light. The Dramatico ending represents a glorious sunset ablaze with color.

My hope is that all who play this piece and everyone who hears it will be uplifted and affirmed.


A Note to the Conductor


This piece is extensively cross-cued to give the conductor freedom to mix and match the voices to achieve the best balance and blend possible. A beautiful, sustaining sound is especially important in the opening Maestoso (ms. 1-18) and the Andante Cantabile (ms. 96-136). Blend and beauty of sound are always more important than timbre.


The passage from ms. 100-105 can be a real challenge to balance because the flutes are so low. Feel free to use the cues to mix and match the w.w. accompaniment. If the flute melody just won't come thru, the flutes may play measures 100 thru the first beat of 107 up an octave.


The Vivace (ms. 19-95 and 135-166) should be played like a dance. It should feel comfortable within a range of quarter note = 150 m.m. to 170 m.m. The best effect should be at the top end of that spectrum, though the lower end should easily reflect the attitude of the music.


DURATION: 6:56 - 7:17 (depending on tempo)


This composition is what we could consider a grade 3.5, and may appropriate for a number of ensembles of various ages and abilities.



  • Full Score
  • Flute
  • Oboe
  • Bassoon
  • Bb Clarinet 1-3
  • Bb Bass Clarinet
  • Bb Contrabass Clarinet (Opt.)
  • Eb Alto Saxophone 1-2
  • Bb Tenor Saxophone
  • Eb Baritone Saxophone
  • Bb Trumpet 1-3
  • F Horn 1-2
  • Trombone 1-3
  • Euphonium (Baritone treble clef included)
  • Tuba
  • String Bass
  • Timpani
  • Percussion 1: Snare Drum, Tambourine
  • Percussion 2: Tom Toms, Wood Block
  • Percussion 3: Cymbals (Crash & Sus.)
  • Percussion 4: Chimes, Vibraphone, Orch. Bells
  • Percussion 5: Bass Drum, Xylophone, Orchestral Bells


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