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Off-trail hiking in words and music June 18, 2009

Posted by Jenny in bushwhacking, hiking, music, poetry, Smoky Mountains.
Tags: , , , ,
Brushy Mtn. and flank of LeConte from Winnesoka

Brushy Mtn. and flank of LeConte from Winnesoka

I took the photo 6/14 from the other side of Long Branch Gap from a place described in the composition. I will post about this outing soon.

On June 13 I had the unusual and wonderful experience of hearing words that I’d written about off-trail explorations performed as part of an orchestral piece.  The occasion was a concert in Cades Cove to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

The piece was called “Off-Trail in the Smokies.”  It was composed by Jim Carlson and performed by the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra conducted by Lucas Richman on a sunny afternoon before an audience seated in folding chairs in the meadow beside Cable Mill.

It was an honor to have three of my poems selected to be narrated to an orchestral accompaniment.  This spring I’d heard from my friend Stephanie Seay in Knoxville that the piece had been commissioned and that the composer was looking for material.  I sent him a batch of poems and was delighted when he chose them.  You can see the words and play an audio file here.  This version has the composer doing the narration; at the concert the narration was done by Katy Wolfe Zahn.KSO with Katy Wolfe Zahn at Cades Cove

What an interesting thing it was for me to have what I’d written interpreted musically.  Jim’s interpretation gave my experiences a form that was new and yet harmonized with what I’d described.

The second part of the three-part composition was about a solo bushwhack I did up Brushy Mountain from Long Branch Gap.  It describes how I’d just managed to work my way through the thick laurel to the summit when a thunderstorm hit.  By a convergence of circumstance, thunderstorms also threatened on the day of the concert.  But the storms held off until afterwards, when the clouds opened with a drenching rain that once again replenished the infinite greenness of the Smokies.

Click on image below, then zoom in for better view.



1. DaffodilPlanter - June 19, 2009


2. Holly B. - June 19, 2009

It was a moving piece, and so perfectly suited to the occasion. Thank you!!!

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