Vast expanses of the western United States consist of granite mountains covered by sagebrush. In the hot summer glare or on cold winter nights, these places can feel harsh and barren. Yet in these spaces the observer can also see for miles: distant hills, diamond-encrusted night skies, giant shadows cast by entire weather systems, and the far-off approach of other people. Such range of vision grants a perspective, and thus an understanding, not possible on more human- scaled terrain. I wrote Granite and Sage with these places in mind as a metaphor for major life changes. At times when cherished traditions and relationships, like lush forests, give way to sparser emotional landscapes, one can yet see off into the distance in a way not possible when one is in the thick of things. The music seeks to capture that sense of sparseness and space that is at once both stern and inspiring.
Year Composed: 2017
Instrumentation: English horn (or French horn or alto saxophone) and piano
Duration: 14 minutes
Premiere: 6 May 2018 by Jeralee Johnson and Keith Kirkoff
Performance History: Complete performance list
Perusal Score: Download Now