Sunday, July 28, 2013

Picker's "Old and Lost Rivers"

As long as I’m writing about beautiful music about water (see yesterday’s post), here is another piece that I heard on the radio a few years ago and, subsequently, ordered the CD right away. (That was a very fortunate purchase, because not only did I have the piece I wanted but also discovered Alan Hovhaness, now a favorite composer, for his “Mysterious Mountain” symphony preceded this piece on the CD.)

Tobias Picker’s “Old and Lost Rivers” is a lovely, meditative piece, just under seven minutes long: I haven't heard the piano version but this orchestral version is so pretty.

Here are Picker’s notes (and press reviews) about the piece: He writes there: "Driving east from Houston along Interstate 10, you will come to a high bridge which crosses many winding bayous. These bayous were left behind by the great wanderings over time of the Trinity River across the land. When it rains the bayous fill with water and begin to flow. At other times -- when it is dry -- they evaporate and turn green in the sun. The two main bayous are called Old River and Lost River. Where they converge, a sign on the side of the highway reads: Old and Lost Rivers.

Definitely not the I-10 bridge
over the Trinity River, but an older one near
Dallas. This postcard is postmarked 1911
"In 1986 the state of Texas was engaged in a celebration of its sesquicentennary. This event was to be marked by the commissioning of a series of concert openers for the Houston Symphony, of which I had just been appointed Composer in Residence. Thought not a traditional Fanfare, Old and Lost Rivers took its place in what came to be known as the Fanfare Project alongside twenty other compositions from composers from all over the US and the world including Elliott Carter, John Adams, Poul Ruders and Marius Constant.

"I composed Old and Lost Rivers in the spring of 1986 in Houston as a tribute to my new home.....”

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