Inspired by the breathtaking views of the Flint Hills and the paintings of Mark Flickenger, this symphony is designed to be performed with his artwork projected onto screens on stage. Through the music and art, we can deepen our appreciation for what’s in our own backyard. May we never take for granted the beauty of the land and sky, trees, water and people.
Genre: Full Orchestra | # of Players: Standard
Level: 4 | Duration: 20:00
Oboe II/English Horn
Clarinet in Bb I, II
Bass Clarinet in Bb
Horn in F I, II, III
Trumpet in C I, II, III
Percussion 1 (Suspended Cymbal, Snare Drum, Triangle, Tambourine)
Percussion 2 (Triangle, Bass Drum, Suspended Cymbal, Crash Cymbals, Egg Shaker(s), 4 Concert Toms, 2 Woodblocks)
Percussion 3 (Bells, Xylophone)
Percussion 4 (Xylophone, Vibraphone)
I. Overture: The Land
II. The Trees
III. The Water
IV. The Sky
V. The People
I have always felt more at home on a dirt road than on a freeway. One of my first explorations of Cowley County was driving the Grouse Creek road to Dexter. It was summer, and I was listening to Aaron Copland’s Appalachian Spring as I drove that evening, marveling at the farmland, the limestone roadcuts and winding road, the music providing a soundtrack to the sites I was seeing through my windshield like a movie. I later learned that I was in the Flint Hills. My explorations of our county further expanded to finding out more about its people and history, and later to lead tours of our limestone bridges, barns and buildings, many of which are in the Grouse Creek Valley. I’ve taken over 2,000 people out into our countryside in the last several years, and more than a few of these tourists have exclaimed, “Kansas ain’t so flat!”
Indeed. Our particular section of the state has some of the most breath-taking views I’ve seen anywhere. And if you love history, you’ll find a treasure trove ranging from prehistoric tribes to Land Rush cowboys. Walking through a plowed field around here, you might find a stone axe, a mule’s shoe or a rusted piece of farm machinery. This land we walk on every day knew hundreds of generations of feet before ours. Our land forms us more than we will ever know.
I first saw one of Mark Flickinger’s paintings several years ago, and this symphony is designed to be performed with his artwork projected onto screens on stage. His approach to landscape painting captures our land in ways that go far beyond my capacity for words. In my three previous symphonies, as in most of my compositions, I combine various arts with music, hoping to add depth to both. Mark’s paintings have inspired this work from first note to last; I’ll never tire of looking at them.
So this is my hope for The Grouse Creek Symphony: that through the music and art, we can deepen our appreciation for what’s in our own backyard. May we never take for granted the beauty of the land and sky, trees, water and people.