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Bright Angel (Score & Parts)-3BSN/CBSN

Composer: Waterhouse, Graham

Publisher: Accolade (Germany)

Edition: 1914


Bright Angel (2008)
for three bassoons and contrabassoon
by Graham Waterhouse (b. 1962)- English composer and cellist

Premiered at the 2008 IDRS Conference in Provo, this challenging piece is a depiction of the Grand Canyon trail know as Bright Angel, leading from the canyon's north rim to the south rim. The trail was hiked by the author in 1972, aged 9, with William Waterhouse (1941-2007) during the latter's year spent at Indiana University. 
The piece tries to reflect a sense of wonder and awe at both the majesty and the brutality of Nature. Some of the contours are mirrored in the variously undulating and jagged lines. Also recalled during the composition were the perpetually shifting vistas, as well as the toil of tramping out the dusty trail, stumbling over boulders, cowering during a storm. The musical material is mostly contained within the opening motive, first heard as  a solitary voice, before recurring over a wide-spanning accompaniment of arpeggios. The low, reflective introduction gives way to a fast section, based on an energetic, pulsating rhythm. It is to the tranquil mood of the opening that the work eventually returns, closing on an unresolved, augmented chord- a symbol for the timelessness and eternity of the Canyon.