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Ascension, The

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Robert W. Smith

Robert W Smith

This work is the third movement of the composer's Symphony No. 1, The Divine Comedy.

General Info

Year: 1994
Duration: c. 6:05
Difficulty: V (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Alfred Music Publishing
Cost: Score and Parts (print) - $87.00; (digital) - $87.00   |   Score Only (print) - $15.00; (digital) - $9.00


Full Score
C Piccolo
B-flat Soprano Clarinet I-II-III
E-flat Alto Clarinet
B-flat Bass Clarinet
E-flat Alto Saxophone
B-flat Tenor Saxophone
E-flat Baritone Saxophone
B-flat Trumpet I-II-III
Horn in F I-II-III-IV
Trombone I-II-III
Percussion I-II-III-IV, including:

  • Bass Drum
  • Bells
  • Chimes
  • Congas (2)
  • Crash Cymbals (2 pairs)
  • Snare Drum
  • Suspended Cymbal
  • Tam-tam
  • Tambourine
  • Tom-toms (2)
  • Triangle
  • Vibraphone (2 players; 2 bows required)
  • Water-Filled Crystal (pitched in C)
  • Wind Chimes

Players chanting


In Parts:

  • Percussion I, m.6: Add a 4/4 bar

In Score and Parts:

  • Piano, m.34-35: E-flat should be an E natural
  • Piano, m.97, beat 2: B-flat4 should be a G4

Program Notes

The Ascension is the third of four movements of The Divine Comedy. The movement begins with Dante on the Mountain of Purgatory. Having been instructed and purified in Purgatory, he is prepared for his journey to Paradise. Beatrice, his guide, lifts her eyes toward the sun. Following her example, Dante looks to the sun and is at the moment transformed ("trans-humanized") in preparation for his great adventure. He is surprised to discover wonderful music, the music of the spheres, surrounding them. Swifter than thought, their flight of incredible speed begins. Dante and Beatrice, accompanied by sounds of wondrous beauty and intensity, ascent to the Sphere of Fire.

- Program Note by composer

Commissioned by the James Madison University Band, Harrisonburg, VA, Dr. J. Patrick Rooney, Director of Bands.

- Program Note from score


State Ratings

  • Alabama: Class A
  • Georgia: V
  • Kansas: IV
  • Minnesota: II
  • Mississippi: VI-A
  • New York: Concert Band V
  • North Carolina: VI
  • South Carolina: V
  • Tennessee: V
  • Virginia: V


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

  • Lakeside Pride Music Ensembles (Chicago, Ill.) Symphonic Band (Kyle Rhoades, conductor) - 1 April 2023
  • Adrian (Mich.) College Concert Band (Ryan Cupp, conductor) - 20 February 2023
  • North Central College (Naperville, Ill.) Concert Winds (Lawrence Van Oyen, conductor) - 05 December 2021
  • Rome (Italy) Banda dell'Esercito Italiano (Italian Army Wind Band) (Filippo Cangiamila, conductor) – 22 September 2021
  • University of Maine (Orono) Symphonic Band (Christopher White, conductor) - 22 April 2021
  • University of Oklahoma (Norman) Boomer Campus Band (Brian Britt, conductor) – 01 March 2020
  • Franklin (Mass.) High School Wind Ensemble (Diane Plouffe, conductor) – 10 December 2019
  • Emporia State University (Overland Park, Ks.) Wind Ensemble (Gary Ziek, conductor) - 23 November 2019
  • University of Miami (Coral Gables) Green Concert Band (Jay C. Reese, conductor) – 02 February 2019
  • San Dieguito Academy (San Diego, Calif.) Wind Ensemble I (Jeremy Wuertz, conductor) – 23 January 2019
  • DuPage Community Concert Band (Glen Ellyn, Ill.) (Terry Redford, conductor) - 03 December 2018
  • Whitman College (Walla Walla, Wash.) Wind Ensemble (Gary Gemberling, conductor) – 11 November 2018
  • McPherson (Kan.) College Concert Band (Kyle Hopkins, conductor) – 20 November 2016
  • Ohlone Wind Orchestra (Fremont, Calif.) (Tony Clements, conductor) – 01 May 2016
  • Liberty Classic Community Band (Williamsport, Penn.) (Arnald Gabriel, conductor) – 18 October 2015
  • De Kunstvrienden Sint-Eloois-Winkel (Ledegem, Netherlands) (Dimitri Bracke, conductor) – 07 April 2013

Works for Winds by This Composer

Adaptable Music

All Wind Works


  • Perusal score
  • Robert W. Smith website Accessed 6 September 2021
  • Smith, Norman E. (2002). Program Notes for Band. Chicago: GIA Publications, pp. 549.
  • Smith, R. (1994). The Ascension: from The Divine Comedy [score]. Belwin Mills: Miami, Fla.