Mountain Mosaic

for the Colorado Recorder Orchestra

Featured at the 2013 Wind & Waves Workshop in Sitka, Oregon, presented by Clea Galhano

  • Music Preview
  • Liner Notes
  • video Video
  • audio Audio

music sample

History and Performance Notes

cover art“Mountain Mosaic” was commissioned in 2012 by Rose Marie Terada and the Colorado Recorder Orchestra, who performed its premier in November 2013. It is a single-movement tone poem with a succession of contrasting colors and moods strung together in a musical garland that circles back to itself. Some programmatic features are the “mountain” and “valley” shapes within the music — from the tiny ups and downs in the and upmotifs starting at measure 95, to the larger rises and falls, most notably at the piece’s midpoint, m.171, where the minor-key descent hits the bottom and rises back up in the major key.

The various sections throughout the piece suggest imagery that is likely to be different for each listener — among many possibilities, one might imagine perhaps a majestic sunrise (m.26); birds high aloft (m.28); an arduous journey over the pass (m.71); frolicking wildlife (m.95); time for a little nap (m.127); bustling activity in town (m.204); climbing even higher (at the half-step key change, m.243); twinkling stars on a clear night (m.257); or a light rain (in the low basses, m.283) before a glorious sunset (m.300).

Performance notes: The instruction to add the Alto and Tenor players one at a time during the opening and closing sections does not prevent smaller groups from performing the piece, but the technique should be observed if possible to impart a sense of growing intensity. Following the opposite instruction for the Altos at m.23, to “drop out when out of breath”, creates a subtle fading of the uppermost note in the chord as the number of Alto players decreases, and shifts the heart of the chord’s voicing downward to the lower instruments. The final chord at m.26 should have very few Altos, if any. (Tenors, however, need to stay in the whole time.)

The Subgreatbass and Subcontrabass parts are optional, provided for those ensembles with the good fortune to have either of those large sizes in their arsenal. As above, their inclusion does not prevent smaller groups without those sizes from performing the piece.

Cover photo: Rocky Mountain National Park outside of Estes Park, Colorado at about 10,000 feet. ©

Mountain Mosaic performed by the Bietigheim-Bissingen Musikschule in April 2014, at the Tivoli Theater in downtown Downers Grove, Illinois. Annette Bachmann conducts.


 Mountain Mosaic

Performed by Flauto Vivo, July 2014 in Duvenstedt, Germany.
More recordings to come!