My wife and I love to travel together. We are always looking for places to go together, as well as excuses to include each other in our own individual travels. One of my personal favorite travel opportunities is the International Double Reed Society conference. It is an opportunity to catch up with friends, make new friends and contacts, and make beautiful music. A number of years ago, I started the "All Star Double Reed Band" that has now premiered over a dozen new pieces for large double reed ensemble, and has recorded an album of those works. As a combined labor of love, I wrote Impressions of Yellowstone for my wife, a concert pianist, to perform with this group.
The first movement, “Little Grand Canyon" opens with a chorale in the piano illustrating the simple majesty of the great and wondrous park that my wife and I visit annually with her parents. From there, the music exemplifies my impression of this wondrous landscape; beautiful, powerful. A deep valley with a waterfall on one end, it is one of the more beautiful sites to see in Yellowstone.
The second movement, "Grand Prismatic", is a musical impression of the different perspectives of this very famous Yellowstone landmark. From the overlook, you see a stunning pond with steam emanating from it and surrounded by color. However, if you are to go down and stand next to the hotspot, your perspective changes greatly. Sulfur smells, danger from the soft crust (with boiling sulfuric liquid just below the surface), and a hot, steamy fog of mist permeate the area.
In the finale, "Old Faithful", tone painting is brought out in full force as the opening piano solo material brings about the image of the geyser bubbling and building below the surface. Then, at the point of explosion, you hear the water falling and the delight of all of the dozens of onlookers who visit this most famous site at Yellowstone every day.
The original version, for double reeds, is dedicated the All Star Double Reed Band and my wife, Tammy Miller, who recorded it on the Co-Op Press label.
The version for piano and string orchestra is dedicated to Tammy and the National Composers Orchestra who recorded it on the Baldwin Records label.
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