Instrumentation: 3222 / 4331 / timp., 2 perc. / pno / strings
Duration: 11 minutes
World Premiere: Commissioned and premiered by the Colorado Springs Philharmonic, Josep Caballé Domenech, Music Director, in May 2017 at Colorado Springs, Colorado
This work was commissioned by the Colorado Springs Philharmonic, Josep Caballé Domenech, Music Director, in celebration of its 90th anniversary. When asked to incorporate some inspiration from the poem “America the Beautiful” which celebrates the Pikes Peak region as well as the country as a whole, I thought of the last line of the first stanza, “from sea to shining sea” This piece moves from the deep of the two oceans surrounding the country and works its way up to the highest mountain peaks and alpine zones. The title Zones describes these various layers of both ocean and land. The actually melody of “America the Beautiful” is outlined (the first four musical notes of the melody are used) throughout the work, and it appears in different guises, sometimes lyrical, sometimes dissonant, sometimes mysterious.
The piece begins with an animated introduction, which quickly dissipates and we are left with only the sounds of air coming from the wind instruments. The piece then moves through the various zones, beginning in the deep ocean (The Trenches and the Abyss), then to the Twilight and Midnight Zones (slightly shallower), then to the Sunlight Zone (very shallow), and finally onto land and upward to the Alpine Zone. These various layers/zones served only as initial inspirations for the piece, but ultimately, the music progresses on its own terms.