Skip to Content

What If

Browse Catalog

Note from Composer

What If is a quintet from my musical Paradise Lost: Shadows and Wings. In it, Exstasis (our heroine) tries to convince four other angels (Pieta, Aia, Fervio, and Gravitas) to follow her on her adventure to get her (and their) wings back.

Craig Hella Johnson saw the 2007 Los Angeles production of Paradise Lost, and asked me if he could arrange What If for percussion ensemble and his excellent ensemble Conspirare. I hesitantly agreed, not knowing what to expect. When he sent me the final product, I couldn’t believe my ears. The choral parts work perfectly as a quintet, and the percussion arrangement is almost note for note what my electronic track was doing. Like everything Craig does, this new arrangement just sounds so fresh and vibrant.

What If isn’t yet published in any format.

The Text

You’re hiding, (Nope,) surviving, (Yep.) You’re stubborn, too. (True.)
And you’re frightened, (I’m not,) not knowing (What?) your heart. (And you?)
I’m trying (To?) to question, (And?) the answer’s near. (Where?)

I yearn to soar, (So?) so there has to be much more (No.)
Yes, there must be another way.
It’s time to (Fly?) That’s right. (Then try explaining slow.)

We have to go (Where?) high above (The wall?) of course. (We’d fall!)
Perhaps, but then we’d know (Know?) all the things (Like what?) like wings and worlds we knew before.
(You’re not making sense, you yearn to soar, but we don’t have wings anymore.)
I know but there must be another way.

What if all this came true? Pure bliss!
What if your wings sailed free? We’d sing!

What would I do?
You’d lift the moon,
And make it spin.
I’d inspire a choir of sapphire winds

And you? (We’d sing) What song? (Just harmony.)
And we’d sing free in perfect harmony,
There must be another way.
What if this time your dreams they’d rhyme? (Sublime!)
What if your voice sailed free? (Rejoice!)
And we’d sing free in perfect harmony,
There must be another way.

David Noroña, b.1972 and Eric Whitacre, b.1970


3.5 minutes

Year of Composition



Boosey & Hawkes

Music Catalog