Mountains, Rivers, Dreams

Genre: Wind Ensemble Duration: 10 minutes Difficulty: Grade 4+/5


Instrumentation: Piccolo, Flute 1&2, Oboe 1&2, Bassoon 1&2, Bb Clarinet 1, 2, 3, Bb Bass Clarinet, Alto Saxophone 1&2, Tenor Saxophone, Baritone Saxophone, Bb Trumpet 1, 2, 3 ,Horn in F 1, 2, 3, 4 Trombone 1&2, Bass Trombone, Euphonium, Tuba, Piano, Percussion (six players)

Program Notes: During my Spring 2015 sabbatical leave, I had the opportunity to travel in the West for a series of professional engagements. The highlight of this road trip was a five-week artistic residency at the Banff Centre, a well-know institution dedicated to developing and supporting creativity and innovation located in the Canadian Rocky Mountains of Alberta. Mountains, Rivers, Dreams draws its inspiration from the majestic beauty that I experienced at Banff and throughout my travels. The title of my piece attempts to encompass both the natural beauty of the landscape and the emotional journey of a voyage (and, on a larger scale, our journey through life). Mountains represent the large-scale majesty of nature as well as the lofty ideals that give life a sense of purpose. These ideas are characterized in the music by widely spaced, open sonorities, sustained harmonies and broad, slower tempos. Rivers represent the intimate beauty of a walk along a stream as well as the excitement of new friendships and personal growth. These ideas appear in the music as flowing chord progressions, instrumental solos and faster tempos. Dreams are our aspirations, successes, and failures in life. A dissonant half-step progression is used throughout the work to embody the struggle to reach our dreams, find meaning, and to grow as a person. The musical ideas embodied by these three main concepts alternate and interact with each other in a series of contrasting sections that build to an energetic climax. The climax leads directly to a peaceful final section that provides a sense of resolution to the conflict and closes the piece with a renewed sense of optimism. Mountains, Rivers, Dreams was commissioned by and dedicated to the Eastern Kentucky University Symphonic Wind Ensemble.