Full dectet, electric violin, electric guitar, soprano, projectionist

Written for 5HE in 2012 by Caleb Burhans, Excelsior, a new concert work for large ensemble, electroacoustic violin/guitar duo itsnotyouitsme and soprano, depicts Captain Joseph Kittinger’s 4’36” free fall from just over 102,000 feet as part of Project Excelsior. Designed to test the limits of the human body as well as new technology, this jump from 1960 held the world record for the longest free fall until it was broken on October 14, 2012 by Felix Baumgartner. Multi-faceted composer Caleb Burhans expands this 4-minute episode into a 30-minute dramatic experience uniting storytelling, text, music and vivid imagery, taking this important event in history and exploring its impact on the human psyche.  Videos from Kittinger’s 1960 free fall that were recorded by the United States Air Force have been gathered, combined, and edited to provide stunning and immersive visuals of the fall as part of the concert experience.

Excelsior can be paired with Verklärte Nacht, or with additional repertoire curated by the ensemble and by the composer. Excelsior is available on 5HE’s debut album, released by Cedille Records.

Studio Recording: 

“The whole undertaking is marked by spirited music-making of the finest kind”

 – Joshua Kosman, San Francisco Chronicle

“The Fifth House Ensemble gives us a most fascinating, widely open window on the newer music being written today by the younger generation of composers.”

– Grego Applegate Edwards, Classical Modern Music

“It’s clear from the level of performance in the four works on this album that Fifth House Ensemble was thoroughly dedicated to the success of this effort.”

– David Abrams, CNY Café Momus

“Next time you’re thinking of trying your luck with a lottery ticket, go with a sure winner and order your copy of Excelsior.”

– David Abrams, CNY Café Momus

“It makes sense that Fifth House Ensemble […] should have come up with a program as sophisticated and unexpected as the album “Excelsior.”

– Daniel Stephen Johnson, WQXR “Q2″