SSATB, piano

In Edna St. Vincent Millay's poem, "On Thought in Harness," a falcon's timidness reflects the poet's own reluctance to embrace freedom and risk. This rapturous setting of Millay's words gradually ascends into extravagant flight, with contemplative solos, a lustrous piano part, and soaring vocal lines.

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Catalog Number: 
Commissioned By: 
Cedarburg High School. Cedarburg, WI
Premiere Ensemble: 
Cedarburg High School. Cedarburg, WI
Premiere Conductor: 
Darciann Ketter

Honorable Mention, New York Virtuoso Singers Composition Competition


New York Virtuoso Singers; Harold Rosenbaum, conductor. New York City, NY
University Chorale; Giselle Wyers, conductor. University of Washington, Seattle, WA
Kenyon Community Choir; Benjamin Locke, conductor. Kenyon, OH
Cedarburg High School Choirs; Darciann Ketter, conductor. Cedarburg, WI


"[Climb] represents the struggle to let go of that which we hold most dear, in an effort to encourage further growth and discovery. Cedarburg News (Cedarburg, WI)

Climb took me on a musical journey... The last notes of the piano do not even resolve (which would bring the feeling of the piece back down to earth); rather, the falcon is allowed to continue climbing beyond the bounds of the song" ‑ Brett Hanisko, singer, Cedarburg High School Choir

Text Author or Source: 
Edna St Vincent Millay

"On Thought In Harness"
Poem by Edna St. Vincent Millay

My falcon to my wrist
From no high air.
I sent her toward the sun that burns
Above the mist;
But she has not been there.

Her talons are not cold; her beak
Is closed upon no wonder;
Her head stinks of its hood, her feathers reek
Of me, that quake at the thunder.

Degraded bird, I give you back your eyes forever, ascend now whither you are tossed;
Forsake this wrist, forsake this rhyme;
Soar, eat ether, see what has never been seen; depart, be lost,
But climb.

From Wine From These Grapes, © 1934, 1962 by Edna St. Vincent Millay and Norma Millay Ellis. All rights reserved.
Used by permission of Elizabeth Barnett, literary executor for the Millay Society.