Sextet for Woodwind Quintet and Piano. (1998) 10′
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Blue Mountain Meadow was commissioned by the National Symphony Orchestra, and given its premiere performance at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC by members of the NSO.
Blue Mountain is my favorite nature-walk place in the Missoula, Montana area where I live. It is noted for is wonderful views and its sense of calm serenity. Underneath the quiet of a sweeping meadow I began to imagine the engine of life that was at work. The result is a vigorous and challenging single-movement piece for one of my favorite instrumental combinations.
Blue Mountain is a place I go to frequently to walk, sometimes with my dogs, sometimes alone, sometimes just to walk briskly, sometimes to meditate while walking.
Blue Mountain meadow offers views of the Mission, Sapphire and Rattlesnake mountain ranges as well as the town of Missoula laid out in the valley below. It is a place where clouds and the sky feel really close. In summer, meadow grasses are a sea of subtle greens and browns dotted with subalpine flowers and shrubs. Ponderosa pine, white pine and larch climb the mountainside. In winter, the meadow is covered in deep drifts of snow. There are deer, foxes, coyotes, other small animals, and a variety of songbirds. Bears and cougars live in the mountain wilderness beyond the meadow.
“Blue Mountain Meadow, Missoula, Montana” is a music that reflects the complex and humming life force of this nature place that I love. The music is brisk, vibrant and insistent. It is not a description of the meadow, but a meditative reaching into the power of all the things that live there, and the power of the place itself. I have chosen wind quintet and piano because of their sharp-edged qualities and their distinc-tive and beautiful colors.
This work was commissioned by the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and the National Symphony Orchestra of Washington D.C., Leonard Slatkin, Music Director, in honor of the 1996 American Residency Program in Montana/Wyoming.