Three world premieres inspired by national parks to be performed by the Violetta Duo
In 2019, clarinetist Madelyn Moore and flutist Dorothy Maglione were performing in Knoxville, Tennessee and took some time to visit Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Awed by the beauty of the landscape and wanting to build support and awareness of the national park system, they hatched an idea to commission music inspired by national parks. This Monday, the two musicians, who perform as the Violetta Duo, will present the first three pieces in their project – music inspired by the Grand Canyon, White Sands, and Rocky Mountain National Park. The works were supported by a grant from New Mexico State University.
Moore and Maglione joined Intermezzo host Leora Zeitlin in this conversation on Zoom to talk about the concert and each of the pieces. “Labyrinth,” by clarinetist-composer Theresa Martin, explores “all different aspects of the Grand Canyon,” Moore said, including its carved rock shapes, the Phantom Range at the bottom, flowing water, and the many moods evoked there.
Jacob Dalager, who teaches at NMSU, takes listeners to experience the dunes of White Sands, the lizards, insects and other critters one sees there, and the joy of sledding down the slopes. “I really think he tapped in to some great uses of extended techniques in a way that is super accessible but really artistic,” Maglione noted.
Daniel Morel chose Rocky Mountain National Park in his home state of Colorado to compose “RMNP Ecologies,” musically evoking the slow-moving glaciers, drops of ice melting, and the subtle changes one sees as one climbs higher and higher in elevation.
“What’s really interesting about these pieces and the composers’ takes on these parks is that sometimes it’s really easy to stand back and look at the wonder, but then you can also see the details. And that’s what you get when you’re in these parks and you take time to really take in the nature,” said Maglione. Listen to the interview to learn how each of the composers focused as much on those details as the grandeur of the parks to compose their music. The concert will also include a poem before each piece, written by NMSU geography professor and poet Eric Magrane.
The free concert, entitled “Sky & Earth, Boundless,” is on Monday, Feb. 13 at 7:30 p.m. at the Atkinson Recital Hall on the NMSU campus.