Written for the BBC Symphony Orchestra as part of the BBCSO/Sound and Music Workshop
for orchestra [3(III=picc).3.3(III=bcl).3(III=cbsn) - 126.96.36.199 - perc(3) - harp - strings]
Aerial Courser by Christopher Mayo, a Canadian transplanted to the UK, is just as brash. Suggested by late nineteenth-century sightings of what one California newspaper called “Mystery Airships,” the 2009 work...reads as a steampunk collection of gnarly machine-like noises, flashy timbres, and explosive rhythms.
- David Gordon Duke, Classical Voice North America (March 7, 2016)
From 1896 to 1897, starting in California and gradually spreading out across America, there were a wave of sightings of “Mystery Airships”. Though occurring long before ideas of extraterrestrials and flying saucers had entered the public consciousness, these reports of dirigible-like flying machines seem to be a cultural antecedent of the wave UFO and alien abduction stories which erupted in the 1950s. The crews of these airships—universally reported to be human—were variously described as descendants of the lost tribes of Israel, a nude couple who had travelled from Mars, and a man holding many women hostage at gunpoint. The airships were attested to have a variety of fantastical capabilities; one report in the Albion Weekly News suggested that the pilot was able to shrink the airship and fit it in his pocket for storage. The following headline was printed in the San Francisco Call, 18 November 1896.
Aerial Courser was written for a Sound and Music workshop with the BBC Symphony Orchestra conducted by Jurjen Hempel.
March 17, 2009 - BBC Symphony Orchestra, Jurjen Hempel, conductor, Maida Vale Studios, London, UK (Workshop Performance)
February 27, 2015 - Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, Bramwell Tovey, conductor, Orpheum Theatre, Vancouver, Canada