Charles Alan Sylvestri’s poem “Leonardo dreams of hid flying machine” is a dramatic story of hope and optimism that takes the listener on a great adventure into the great unknown. Leonardo functions as the agonist of the poem who is “tormented” by his need to fly and touch the sky. Finally, after much planning and determination Leonardo takes a great leap of faith with his flying machine and his dreams of flight are consummated! In order to fully encapsulate Leonardo’s conquest of the almighty heavens it would only be fitting to have the text set to a full orchestra accompanied by a SATB choir. This is the only combination of instrumentation and vocals that will fully capture the piece’s dramatic story (save a Wagnarian music drama). A…show more content… While a through-composed setting will serve to move the plot along, there are elements of repetition in the poem such as the phrase “Vieni á volare” that would be represented musically by a lone viola playing a Berliozian idée fixe. The idée fixe of the viola would triumph over the rest of the orchestra, eking out a longing tune that represents Leonardo’s dream of flight. This poem also lends itself quite nicely to dramatic word painting in many places. For example, in the second line of the poem, “Tormented by visions of flight and falling” the orchestra would crescendo to a high-pitched squeal on the word “flight” and decrescendo to a low drone on the word “falling”, effectively exaggerating the words through the music. Another opportunity for word painting also comes in the first stanza of the text when “master Leonardo imagines an engine to carry man up to the sun…” on the word “engine” the drums of the orchestra would triumph over the rest of the instruments giving the impression of a jet engine firing up for takeoff. Finally in the last stanza, on the word “ascending” the orchestra would crescendo to a high note and hang there for just a moment before retuning to their basal level. The idée fixe combined with the word painting serve to draw the audience into the poem and create a vivid emotional reaction.
However, the poem also constantly builds tension as the