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Read observations on A Vision of Hills (2002) for piano trio
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Jointly commissioned by The Bartholdy Ensemble -- Montpelier, Vermont and Trio Tulsa -- Tulsa, Oklahoma
A Vision of Hills is an extended, one-movement musical exploration of the traditional Irish hymn tune, "Be Thou My Vision." This has always been one of the composer's favorite melodies.
The reference to hills comes from the view of the hilly Vermont countryside as seen from the composer's studio. This landscape infuses the music.
The opening patterns in the piano might be heard as the first light appearing over the hills in the morning. The Violin and Cello are marked "as a voice calling out across a valley." As the fullness of morning arrives, the piano descends into mid-range, and the melody is presented in the strings.
Contrasting lively sections are inspired by dancing particles of light on the hills. These sections frame a middle portion where the theme is presented in an oscillating or trembling texture in the piano. This is perhaps a "quivering reverence."
The final statement of the theme is placed in a 2/2 meter to emphasize the triumphant nature of the hymn tune. This is intended to reflect the strength of faith, and of the hills.
Notes by the composer