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dedicated to Petoskey, Michigan: The City of Trees
The Heart of the Tree is based upon the poem (of the same title) by Henry Cutler Bunner (1855-1895). Although the text dates back to an earlier era, the sentiments described are timeless -- love, respect and reverence for trees. Our "grounded friends" rise to the sky as a bridge between our rooted, earthly existence and heaven above.
The musical setting juxtaposes choral singing of the three stanzas of the poem with ascending melodic phrases in the accompaniment. These piano interludes are inspired by the image of the tree branches reaching upward -- "a shaft of beauty towering high."