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To Tame the Perilous Skies

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David Holsinger

David Holsinger

General Info

Year: 1991
Duration: c. 13:45
Difficulty: VI (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: TRN Music Publisher
Cost: Score and Parts - $135.00   |   Score Only - $12.00


Full Score
Flute I-II
Bassoon I-II
E-flat Soprano Clarinet
B-flat Soprano Clarinet I-II-III
E-flat Alto Clarinet
B-flat Bass Clarinet
E-flat Alto Saxophone I-II
B-flat Tenor Saxophone
E-flat Baritone Saxophone
B-flat Cornet I-II-III
B-flat Trumpet I-II
Horn in F I-II-III-IV
Trombone I-II-III
Percussion I-II-III-IV-V-VI, including:

  • Bar Chimes
  • Bass Drum
  • Crash Cymbals
  • Glockenspiel (or Bells)
  • Marimba
  • Snare Drum
  • Suspended Cymbal
  • Tam Tam (or Gong)
  • Tambourine
  • Temple Blocks
  • Tom-Toms
  • Triangles (3: small, medium, large)
  • Tubular Bells (or Chimes)
  • Vibraphone
  • Wood Block
  • Xylophone


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

To Tame the Perilous Skies was conceived as a programmatic work literally depicting two opposing forces colliding in battle. The elongated canonic introduction presents a six-pitch intervallic display that is used throughout the composition, both as an intact melodic statement and a fragmented germative device, to depict every extra musical element from serenity to air war to triumphal deliverance. A second melodic element, an imitative fanfare-like motif, first heard in the solo trumpet 120 seconds into the composition, serves repeatedly as counterpoint to all music generated from the opening interval display.

To Tame the Perilous Skies, commissioned by the 564th Tactical Air Command Band, Langley AFB, Virginia, received its premiere performance under the baton of Lt. Col. Lowell Graham in the fall of 1990. At the time of its premiere, United Nations forces were assembling in the Persian Gulf, and only a few months later the world watched as modern technological air power "tamed the perilous skies" over Iraq and Kuwait. In retrospect, this work is dedicated not only to the exceptional men and women of the Tactical Air Command, but to the spirit of the modern military aviator, taming perilous skies that all men might live free of oppression.

-Program Note from score


State Ratings

  • Alabama: Class AA
  • Georgia: VI
  • Louisiana: V
  • Mississippi: VI-A
  • North Carolina: VI
  • South Carolina: VI
  • Virginia: VI


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

  • Georgia Music Educators Association All-State (Athens) 11/12 Symphonic Band II (Don Schofield, conductor) - 4 March 2023
  • Washburn University (Topeka, Kan.) Wind Ensemble (J. Thomas Seddon IV, conductor) - 19 November 2022
  • North Carolina State University (Raleigh) Wind Ensemble (Paul Garcia, conductor) - 21 April 2022
  • Franklin & Marshall College (Lancaster, Penn.) Symphonic Wind Ensemble (Brian Norcross, conductor) – 8 November 2019
  • Lee University (Cleveland, Tenn.) Wind Ensemble (David Holsinger, conductor) – 17 April 2018
  • USAF Band of the Golden West (Travis AFB, Calif.) - 18 October 2014 (at Cupertino, Calif.)
  • Jubal Varsseveld (van Henk - Jan Heijnen, conductor) - 10 November 2012

Works for Winds by This Composer


  • David Holsinger website Accessed 29 August 2021
  • Holsinger, D. (1991). To Tame the Perilous Skies [score]. TRN Music: Ruidoso, N.M.
  • Smith, Norman E. (2002). Program Notes for Band. Chicago: GIA Publications, pp. 294.