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The Mountain, the River, and the Sea (2020)

wind ensemble and solo clarinet


May 2021
Charles River Wind Ensemble, Boston, MA
Matthew Marsit conductor

Program Note:

The Mountain, the River, and the Sea is a work about change
and transformation. As I began work on this piece I was struck by some initial questions. What is the purpose of music? Why do I, in particular, compose? What is the value of acoustic art music in a world increasingly overrun with on-demand electronic resources? I didn’t have a solid answer to any of these questions, other than feeling slightly lost and un-grounded.
That’s when Dante Alighieri came to mind. I was reminded of the fact He wrote his Divine Comedy in the face of a similar
quest to find himself. I began to realize that the process of composing this piece was a bit of a search for me. Who do I
want to be? What do I want to say? I realized that the clarinet was my voice, my avatar in this search.
There have been two images which have stuck with me strongly, the first was a vision I had during my divorce. In it I saw
Christ, clothed in white standing at the base of a burning mountain covered in sharp pieces of obsidian. He gestured to
me and said, “This is your path, walk it.” The second image happened during the time I was in Montana for David and Alison’s memorial service. There was a very bad wild fire outside of town and the whole sky was filled with thick smoke which dimmed the sun. It struck me in that moment that it was as if the very land itself was mourning their loss. It is the combination of these two images that comprises the inspiration for the
“rest movement, Mountain of Fire, Mountain of Ash. I have also had the impression that there is an underlying structure of past, present, and future to this piece.
The other two movements come from dream work I have been doing with a Jungian analyst. In my dreams a river is representative of my emotions, or emotional release. So the idea of the loose structure of the piece was one of moving from a place of emotional tumult, or difficulty to one of openness and release.
So The Mountain, The River, and The Sea presents the idea of moving from difficulty to openness.

Kevin Krumenauer July 30, 2021