Appalachian Triptych was commissioned by the New Works Project. The list of commissioners includes Jackie Glazier, Kamran Badrnia, Anthony Taylor, Kathryn Vetter, Lisa Perry, Joanna McCoskey Wiltshire, Amanda Morrison, Rosemary Engelstad, Andy Hudson, Aundre Wesley, Sara Eastwood, Stefanie Gardner, Kristine Dizon, Christopher Nichols, Vanessa Davis, Lucas Gianini, Luke Ellard, Lilly Haley, Julia Lougheed, Lara Mitofsky Neuss, Natalie Szabo, Julia Heinen, Tiana Molina, Amy Advocat, and Austin McFarland.
I. Glen Burnie Falls
II. Trout Lake
III. Grandfather Mountain
I took many trips to the mountains of western North Carolina when I was young, picking up a love for nature and grandeur. Shortly after receiving the commission from the New Works Project, I was fortunate enough to move to Blowing Rock, North Carolina, a town nestled amidst the Blue Ridge Mountains that I had visited as a child. This composition is inspired by three beautiful locations that I now frequently visit.
The first movement, Glen Burnie Falls, describes a cascading waterfall situated right next to Blowing Rock. Falling gestures imitate the shape of the landscape, fading into a mist. A contrasting rising melody emerges and then melds with the opening gestures.
Trout Lake is a manmade body of water that is part of the sprawling Moses H. Cone Memorial Park at the edge of town and is right next to the famous Blue Ridge Parkway. Regularly stocked with trout, it's a popular location for fishing. The second movement is playful and energetic, imagining trout jumping out of the water while flocks of waterfowl and kingfishers fly about. As a moto perpetuo, the quickly flowing passagework continually shifts its rhythms and contours.
Just a few miles from Blowing Rock is Grandfather Mountain. It soars above the surrounding mountains and valleys at 5946 feet in elevation and has numerous trails with stunning views that lead to its peak. The final movement of this work is inspired by the times I've hiked up this mountain. The music very gradually climbs from the lowest register of the clarinet to the top. As the freely flowing and lyrical melody arrives at the highest register of the clarinet, it bursts open with a cascade of notes, like broad brushstrokes painting a vast landscape full of grandeur.
Appalachian Triptych may be performed on B flat or bass clarinet. Included in the score is an intermediate version of the piece with some simplified techniques and rhythms. It provides the same musical opportunities and is accessible to more clarinetists.
Special thanks to Jackie Glazier, Andy Hudson, and Lucas Gianini for helping me craft the final version of this piece!
Duration: ca. 10'