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By Dennis Alexander
Big Sky Montana contains three pieces that imaginatively depict this western state. "Land of the Shining Mountains" uses multiple key changes to display the majesty of Montana's various mountain ranges. Challenges for the student include large reaches in the left hand, a few accents, and syncopated rhythms. "Song of the Sky" portrays birds with many quick melodic ornaments in the upper register. The graceful melody is relaxing, and accidentals and arpeggios add variety. In the final piece, "Battle of Little Bighorn," fast eighth notes and frequently changing meter create a lively mood, evoking a famous conflict between the US army and Native American tribes. An extended section of polychords creates dissonant, clashing harmonies, which capture the dramatic battle. The middle section, which remains rhythmic, has a more fluid feel. "Battle of Little Bighorn" and "Land of the Shining Mountains" are Federation Festivals 2016-2020 selections.
ISBN 10: 1470622955
ISBN 13: 9781470622954
* These pieces were specifically chosen for the 2017-2020 NFMC Festivals Bulletin