Lost Mountain Sunrise was commissioned by Dr. Julia Gaines as part of her long term project to create a larger and more varied repertoire for students of the marimba.
When I began composing Lost Mountain Sunrise, my goal was to write a piece that would be more than a simple etude. I wanted to write a piece that would give performers a chance to express themselves musically and to connect emotionally with their audience. I tried to utilize textures and voicings that would make the marimba sound its best while keeping the technical demands of the work within the reach of younger players. I hope the result is a piece that marimbists of all ability levels find both enjoyable and meaningful to perform.
I found inspiration for the piece in the camping trips I took with my grandparents when I was young. Every year, we would spend a week by a river in the Great Smoky Mountains. There was excitement every morning when, with a chill in the air, I would wake up as the sun was still rising. The sound of birds singing and the river rushing over its smooth rocks pulled me outside and into another great day.
I chose the name Lost Mountain Sunrise for two reasons. First, "Smoky Mountain Sunrise" is probably already the title of a really great country song. Second, Julia lives in Missouri and I thought it would be nice to name the piece after a mountain in her state. I also like that it created a wistful second meaning. I miss those drives through the mountains with my grandparents, and the cold water of the rushing river. I can’t relive those days, but Lost Mountain Sunrise is one way to hold on to the memories and share them with others. And it’s nice to know the river is still there, and there are still kids who are excited to wake up and wade into that icy water. They’ll ask why all the rocks are so smooth, and their grandparents will tell them that it’s because the rocks, and the river, have been there longer than they can possibly imagine. That’s a long time.
Lost Mountain Sunrise can be performed on a 4.3 octave marimba.
Performance time: Approximately 5 minutes