Programme Notes – Pikes Peak

Pikes Peak is the highest summit (14,115 foot) of the southern Front Range of the Rocky Mountains in the USA. It is the second most visited mountain in the world after Mount Fuji. This ten-minute work for wind ensemble written in 2017 is in three movements:

Cog Railway This is the most practical way of getting up to the to of the mountain – the music is mainly relaxed with a constant chugging rhythm, but there are some tense moments that reflect some of the twists and turns of the journey. The panoramic aspect of the ascent comes more into focus at the end of the movement.

Climb Dance The title is taken from a short film featuring the Finnish rally driver Ari Vatanen driving up Pike’s Peak in record time in a Peugeot 405 Turbo 16-GR. By the time you’ve read this the movement will be finished.

Summit The slow movement of the work, a grandiose celebration of some of the most spectacular views where on a clear day you can see five states (Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico, Utah and Kansas) and even the curvature of the earth fading into the distance.