Of Skies, Rivers, Lakes and Mountains
Of Skies, Rivers, Lakes and Mountains was
commissioned by the Northern California Band Directors' Association to honour
their 50th Anniversary in 2012. The first performance was given by the
Associationís 2012 Honor Band, conducted by Dr Royce Trevis, in the Harlen Adams
Theater, California State University, Chico, California, on 4th
February that year.
The brief for the commission asked for a piece that
celebrated the United Statesí natural resources and composer Philip Sparke
Katharine Lee Batesís
lyrics for the song America the Beautiful, of which the first and last
O beautiful for spacious skies,
For amber waves of grain,
For purple mountain majesties
Above the fruited plain!
God shed His grace on thee,
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea
The three movements each take their title from these
1. O Beautiful for Spacious Skies
Opening with filigree woodwind figuring, this movement aims
to recreate the light and lightness of a spring sky, birds and blossoms floating
on gentle breezes.
2. From Sea the Shining Sea
A vivacious celebration of water bubbling in streams,
rivers and lakes.
3. For Purple Mountain Majesties
A slow final movement representing an awe-inspiring range