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Winter Mountain

From Wind Repertory Project
Persis Vehar

Persis Vehar

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General Info

Year: 1996
Duration: c. 9:40
Difficulty: (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Persis Vehar
Cost: Score and Parts - Rental


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None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

The eponymous work is inspired by Arthur Axlerod’s poem, "Winter Mountain:"

In the slanting northern light, in the wandering organ tones
Of the wind, the mountain stands, layer over layer firm---
A winter monolith.
The roof of evergreen rises beneath the white sky, revealing
The sun against the winter forest and its quality, as if through a seal of gold
Its light enduring.

The choice of the poem reflects [SUNY] Potsdam’s nearby mountainous terrain.

Winter Mountain is written in what the composer refers to as “circular form,” one based on circular thinking which concerns itself with many ideas at once. The piece has three ideas that develop simultaneously, often overlapping each other. The beginning tone cluster based on g-sharp introduces the first idea. The cluster is played by muted brass and develops into a chorale like statement. The disjunct tones of the solo flute entrance are the first notes of the second idea that the woodwinds extend continuously. The percussion section signals the introduction to the third dance like idea in five-four meter. This rhythmic ostinato mixes the tone colors of the woodwind, brass and percussion sections. As this idea develops, it contains a melody, sounded initially by the flugelhorn and clarinets. The melody floats over the top of the rhythmic ostinato. All ideas have primarily upward melodic lines and have no particular order in their development. Towards the end of the first section, the percussion players start improvising against the notated music. By the middle of the work, the entire wind ensemble improvises for ten seconds within the limits that the composer has prescribed. This is the climax of the piece and represents the forces of nature that humans often cannot control.

In the last half of the piece, the three ideas return primarily in retrograde, which gives them a downward melodic motion. The brasses begin the last section, and gradually the improvisation subsides. Each idea diminishes and returns to its initial shortened form. However, at the conclusion of the three concluding lines of the Axlerod poem, the muted brass tone clusters give way to the woodwinds. Like the “enduring sun,” the woodwinds ascend in pitch and finally end on a tonic A Major tone cluster reinforced by percussion. The basic shape of the entire work reflects the sun ascending and descending on the winter mountain.

Composer and pianist Persis Vehar received her training at Ithaca College and the University of Michigan. She served on the Crane Faculty during the 1994-95 academic year, where she met Timothy Toplewski, then director of the Crane Wind Ensemble. Topolewski and the Crane Wind Ensemble commissioned Prof. Vehar for a work, resulting in Winter Mountain, premiered on 20 November 1996.

- Program Note by composer

Commercial Discography

None discovered thus far.

State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

  • State University of New York, Potsdam, Crane Wind Ensemble (Brian K. Doyle, conductor; Sean Fahy, narrator) – 22 February 2017

Works for Winds by this Composer