Fri Oct 13, 2017 10:51am

My commercial efforts are used to fund this labor of love. To say what needs to be said before I am unable to say it.

Those ten hours aren't all at once. They're broken into 58 movements, each being one work of concert program music. I write for orchestra because that is the richest, and most time tested music palette.

Some are ascents. But there can't be 58 repetitions of the same story line. You saw one which is an impression, meant to be unsettling. The music sets that mood, which the picture story reinforces. It is that supremely powerful way music establishes mood. It is far more powerful than people realize. Many take it for granted.

Though not a Fourteener episode, Medano Creek features the piano version of Little Bear. Little Bear is the great Fourteener looming south directly above Medano Creek. Some of its snow melt feeds the creek.

There is one story here. Medano Creek.

The music is a piano version of Little Bear from The Fourteener Suite, and a five voice fugue in waltz form, with the countersubject played by offsetting thumbs of RH and LH, often creating an illusion of three hands.

The work is deceptive. It is one of the most difficult pieces in my repertoire, easily comparable to Liszt's La Campanella. When I play it, I sit back from the piano a few inches farther away from the keys, and as relaxed as possible, gently subdividing sixteenth notes to make the leaps accurately and in time. The leaps are made by gentle arcs of forearm and wrist, and that produces great accuracy. It was written in bB minor, because accuracy in strike of black keys from leaps, and the occasional tenths of LH or RH are possible and manageable, even by those with smaller hands.

Medano Creek is unique in the world. It is hundreds of yards wide and only a few inches deep. It skirts the tallest sand dunes in the western hemisphere, at the base of the Sangre de Cristo mountains in Colorado's San Luis Valley. Directly to the south is Little Bear Peak and Sisnaagiinii (Mt. Blanca), and to the north are the Crestones, all more than 14,000 feet tall.

The water creates miniature dune dams on the creek bed, which build up in height, creating rippling rapids that suddenly breach the sand dams, tearing everything apart and washing all the sand away in a few moments of "calm," before the cycle begins again.

A person standing in the creek slowly sinks in the sand. How far? Nobody ever tested it beyond their knees. But years ago someone in a jeep drove out onto the creek upstream from the picnic area, and the jeep sank up to its hood before the tow company arrived. The driver was ticketed, fined, and had to pay expense of the excavation and extraction.

The sand is from the bed of a huge alpine lake that once filled the San Luis Valley, during the Ice Age. This is a rift valley, constantly growing wider from geologic forces below. Warm artesian water springs exists all over the valley floor. One is used for a tilapia farm, and a healthy population of several thousand alligators, brought in to biologically dispose of the tilapia remains. The water stays warm, in spite of air temperatures that can drop to -40F in winter, and the alligators thrive.

  • I think that my expectation on the last one was that it would be like a "trip up the mountain", so it really felt unpleasant to me with the music intending me to feel that way and the jumpin' around... more
    • How — Pikes, Fri Oct 13 10:51am