Vanessa Porter, violin
Greg Martin, piano
Vanessa Porter is a violinist who has made her own way in the world of music, rather than only following the usual paths of a performer of concert music. Consequently, through projects like her Green Dot Journeys and her National Parks commissions, she has forged a unique road as a performer, bringing her playing into a number of concert venues that are off the beaten path: into the homes of music aficionados, into the national parks, and other non-traditional venues. I had the great privilege to help her with a composition contest for the Green Dot Journeys (named after the roads in Rand McNally maps that are considered very scenic), and I loved the entire process she undertook to make this project work. As she began to plan her next composition project based on the National Parks of the United States, I hoped that I would be able to write a piece for her based on the park in my home state of Montana: Glacier National Park.
This sonata is a very accessible, single movement, thirteen-episode piece that uses as a framing device the beautiful scenic elements of the park that are close to, viewed from, or a short walk away from the marvelous roadway called the Going to the Sun highway, the only road in the park which crosses the park, west to east. In a land of wonders, so many of which can only be seen by back country hiking, the amount of stunningly beautiful scenery that can be seen from this road is nearly overwhelming. Each episode relates to various places along the highway, traveling from Lake McDonald in the west, and moving along the road to Lake St Mary in the east. Along the way, the traveler rides next to McDonald Creek, by the trail of Cedars, past Heaven’s Peak, the Weeping Wall, up to the top of Logan Pass, past hidden treasures such as the Triple Falls, the Garden of the Gods, moving up and across the Continental Divide, down around Siyeh Bend, past St Mary Falls, Baring Creek, Sunrift Gorge, and then to St Mary’s Lake. My hope is that the music reflects at least some of the beauty of this part of Montana with its clear, tumbling streams, cloud-crowned mountains, green forests, red and grey rocks, multi-colored meadows of flowers, and its calm, cold lakes.
During the composition of this piece, I was greatly assisted by viewing the photography of many folks, but I would like to single out and thank a friend of mine who regularly photographs the wonders of Glacier National Park, Mr. Blake Passmore. You may view his photography at FineArt American: https://fineartamerica.com/profiles/blake-passmore.html
Additionally, I was greatly assisted in my writing by a wonderful violinist colleague, Dr. Davis Brooks. His suggestions and editing of the violin part made this piece better in every way. Mille grazie, m’amici!
Commissioned by and composed for Vanessa Porter