This six movement suite was composed during a 12 month, 26,000 mile road trip. From the middle of 2012 until mid-2013 I explored the towns and the byways of America. And I wrote music. I composed several other works on my trip, including a quintet that was premiered at Carnegie Hall. But Travelogue was the centerpiece. Although each movement has a specific location attribution, the work was composed throughout my journey. In addition to the places mentioned in the titles, I wrote in New Orleans, Charleston (SC), Lexington (KY), Burlington (VT), Lowell (MA), Vancouver (BC) and so many points in between.
Santa Fe – The Burning of Zozobra – Each year tens of thousands of people gather in a park in Santa Fe, New Mexico, to mark the start of the annual Fiestas de Santa Fe. They come together to eat and to drink and to enjoy a presentation of singing, dancing, bands and fireworks, all culminating with the burning of Zozobra. Also known as Old Man Gloom, Zozobra is a fifty foot tall marionette that moans and flails as it goes up in flames, taking with it the past year’s misery, and bringing the festivities to a close. I tried to capture the full range of that evening’s experiences in this movement.
Key West from Dusk till Dawn – Key West has been an inspirational spot for many generations of artists. It seemed fitting to begin my journey at the southeast corner of the United States. A place where one can witness both sunrise and sunset over the open water. A place where clocks move at a different rate.
Along the Oregon Coast – The Oregon Coast is a sight to behold. Actually it is many sights to behold, depending on whether one is viewing it from a sand dune, a fishing village or an eerie lighthouse. Waves crashing to the shore can be peaceful, brooding or forceful. I saw all of this and tried to capture it with a texture weaving the two instruments together and apart. The music ends as the last rays of the sun disappear beneath the Pacific.
Rochester – On the Move – In Rochester I lived in a large loft apartment six blocks from one of the top music conservatories in the world and directly above a popular late night dance club. I also lived a short distance from a minor league baseball park. I did a lot of walking in this fast paced city as spring was starting its transition into summer. It was an invigorating environment in which to compose.
Mount Washington – On Top of the World – Mount Washington is truly on top of the world. Not only is it the highest peak in the NE United States, but it boasts some of the worst weather on the planet. High above the tree line, it is a barren, rock strewn perch, cold and windy even in mid summer, but gloriously clear and sunny on my drive to its peak.
Johnstown before the Flood – In the late 19th century Johnstown, Pennsylvania, was a hustling and bustling city, with dozens of bars, restaurants and hotels, and a thriving steel industry. In 1889 a flood came and destroyed the entire town, killings thousands. My great grandfather’s family was living there at the time, but he and his brother were away when the flood hit. They raced back to find their entire family killed and everything lost. So they went to Mississippi, and then to New Orleans to start anew. This final movement tries to capture the spirit of the thriving industrialized city before the waters came, with sounds of factory workers coming and going and whistles blowing to end shifts, as crowds of shoppers and workers spill onto the streets.