"... And The Mountains Rising Nowhere" (1977) was written especially for Donald Hunsberger and the Eastman Wind Ensemble with the aid of a Composer Fellowship Grant awarded by the National Endowment for the Arts. The work is scored for amplified piano, six percussionists, winds and brass, and seven glass crystals (the glass harmonica played by the oboists). It is the latest in a series of works which incorporate the glass crystals into the sonic tapestry of the ensemble. The title of the work is a line from a poem written by my friend, poet, and writer—Carol Adler. The following poem is contained in a collection of poems entitled Arioso:
an afternoon sun blanked by rain
and the mountains rising nowhere
the sound returns
the sound and the silence chimes
While the work is not specifically programmatic, the poem nevertheless acted as the creative impetus for the composition and provided, for me, an enigmatic, complex, and powerful imagery creating a wellspring of musical ideas and feelings in sympathetic resonance with the poem.
The instrumentalists of the wind ensemble, besides playing in a traditional manner, are also required to sing ("celestial choir"), whistle, play glass crystals, water- gongs, bow antique cymbals, vibraphones, and tam-tams, among other instruments and techniques that are employed. The percussion choir, with its wide diversity of instrumental and sonorous possibilities, plays a fundamentally important role in projecting, along with the amplified piano, musical materials in the work. The recognition of that role is emphasized by their foreground placement in the ensemble.
"... And The Mountains Rising Nowhere" is respectfully dedicated to Carol Adler, Donald Hunsberger, and the fine performers of the Eastman Wind Ensemble.