Notes and Editorial Reviews
THE GRAND CANYON PROJECT
Rhonda Rider (vc)
MSR 1462 (65:16)
Rio del Tizon.
The Silence of Yuma Point.
Even the Stones Breathe.
The Great Unconformity.
So Near, So Far.
My Grandmother’s Ashes.
A Focus Further Within.
Near and Far
In 2011 and 2012 cellist Rhonda Rider was artist in residence at the Grand Canyon National Park. For her project, she invited 10 renowned composers to write works for solo cello that focused on the park. This recording memorializes that event. Yu-Hui Chang, writes of what was once called the Firebrand River, the
Rio del Tizon
. Her piece opens with different approaches to the same note and continues with a sad melody that reminds the listener of the many tragedies the river has witnessed. It has propelled humans with and without firebrands to their destinies for eons. In Jan Swafford’s
The Silence at Yuma Point
he asks the cellist to imitate the sounds of nature heard at that busy area of the canyon. His most interesting writing is in imitation of the sound of the tiny Canyon Wren. John Kennedy’s
Even the Stones Breathe
begins with one low cello tone surmounted by layers of low notes. Gradually, the sound rises as it depicts the layers of rock that seem to reach for the warmth of the sun from river’s icy waters. The tones rise, singing of history as they ascend. If only the rocks and the river could tell us all they have seen! Although they only reveal the barest of facts to scientists, they may offer more images to artists and those who understand their works. Laura Kaminsky’s
The Great Unconformity
begins with double stopping and continues with runs and percussion. Her music leaps from rock to rock and, like the voracious river, conforms to few man-made rules.
Like many of these pieces, Marti Epstein’s
So Near, So Far
begins softly. She makes her mental image of the canyon concrete in six short movements. This is the major piece of the recording. She loves the quiet of spirit that the park inspires. Her musings evoke the mysteries of ancient life that intrigue historians. We have only to realize that the river and its walls were in place before any European visited this continent and will probably outlive us by a thousand years. In
David Rakowski translates the glint of the sun on the water into music. He traces the sunlit waters from their beginning high in the mountains to the fulfillment of their destiny in the canyon and its delivery of life-giving water to the cities beyond. Dalit Hadass Warshaw tells part of the Navajo Creation Myth in
(Birth). According to the story, First Man climbed to the summit of a mountain. There, he heard the cry of an infant, along with the crash of lightning and the pouring of rain. Suddenly, he saw a rainbow with intense colors in front of the black sky. When the rain stopped and the sky became light, he saw a girl lying on the ground. She had just given birth to the Monster Slayer and his alter ego, Born for Water. In this piece Warshaw skillfully depicts the emotions of the mother, White Bead Girl. This was an excellent idea for the production of 10 short pieces on a single theme. The music is interesting and the sound crystal clear.
FANFARE: Maria Nockin
Works on This Recording
Luccicare by David Rakowski
Rhonda Rider (Cello)
Naissance by Dalit Hadass Warshaw
Rhonda Rider (Cello)
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