Aerial Variations on a Colorado Hymn explores my favorite facets of Colorado mountain landscapes through a series of short movements that present different transformations of the titular hymn melody. This “Colorado Hymn” is a simple melody that I wrote when I was 11 or 12 years old during/after a short trip through the mountains with my parents. Despite a lifelong familiarity with the craggy vistas we passed on that day, somehow they left a much deeper emotional impression than ever before. The experience sparked a secret melody that I sang silently in my head for many years before this opportunity came to give it a voice.
Sheer Drop explores the mixture of fear and awe that the beautiful desolation of the most extreme mountain heights inspire, while Eagle’s Eye View expresses a longing for flight. Mining Ruins sketches the crumbling structures of Colorado’s mining days while imagining the echoes of ghostly miners at work. Columbines thrive in unlikely crevices gazes upon wind-rippled blue and white blossoms growing in the cracks of volcanic boulders. The hymn tune is presented in its full glory in Sunset colors make a cathedral of the peaks, the portrait of a sawtoothed range bathed in electric shades of rose.