Christopher had always hoped to be invited back to the Civilization franchise, but always knew in the back of his mind how challenging it would be to live up to the success of ‘Baba Yetu’. So it was perhaps fortunate that he got brought on board the game last minute: there was no time for nerves or self-doubt. Christopher had less than a month to write, record, and mix two new pieces: ‘A New Course’ (the opening movie underscore), and ‘Sogno di Volare (“The Dream of Flight”)’, the new main menu theme song for Civilization VI.
The spirit of Civilization VI is exploration: and so drawing inspiration from the opening movie, as well as the cartographic imagery of the menu screen, Christopher gave his new theme a propulsive, soaring feeling accompaniment. But given the premise of the game itself, he also wanted the theme to sound stately and grand, like a national anthem.
The lyrics are taken from the quintessential Renaissance man himself, Leonardo da Vinci, who had a great obsession with flight. Specifically, the main chorus lyrics are a modern Italian adaptation of the tech-tree quote from Civilization IV that Leonard Nimoy recites when you discover flight: "For once you have tasted flight, you will walk the earth with your eyes turned skywards, for there you have been and there you will long to return."
While flight may have been Da Vinci’s aspiration, the ultimate symbol of human achievement in the Renaissance era was the development of the cathedral: the towering structures that brought mankind closer to the heavens. That’s why in the final seconds of ‘Sogno di Volare’ you hear a massive pipe organ.
‘Sogno di Volare’ was sung both by Christopher’s ‘house choir’ the Angel City Chorale, and also the chamber group Cappella SF, a group made up of singers from the San Francisco Symphony Chorus, directed by the SFSC’s chorus master, Ragnar Bohlin.
The debut performance of ‘Sogno di Volare’ was conducted by Christopher Tin himself at Cadogan Hall, July 19, 2016. The sold-out concert of his music was performed by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and sung by the Angel City Chorale, Prima Vocal Ensemble (York, UK) and Lucis (Bath, UK) combined choirs.