Mount Rainier Search and Rescue
Subtitle: For Saxophone Quartet and Percussion Ensemble
B-flat Soprano Saxophone
E-flat Alto Saxophone I-II
B-flat Tenor Saxophone
E-flat Baritone Saxophone
Percussion I-VI, including:
- Bass Drum
- China Cymbals
- Crash Cymbals
- Ride Cymbal
- Sizzle Cymbal
- Snare Drum
- Suspended Cymbal
None discovered thus far.
In May of 2004, climber Scott Richards called Mount Rainier National Park on a cell phone requesting a rescue for his climbing partner Peter Cooley. The two-person team was ascending Liberty Ridge near 12,000 feet (3657 meters) when Peter’s crampon caught and he fell approximately 30 feet and hit his head, sustaining severe head trauma including a skull fracture as well as injuries to his left arm and leg.
This twelve-minute composition, composed in 2011, roughly follows the major events of the rescue efforts that ensued over the next three agonizing days. In this piece, a series of musical snapshots and recurring musical gestures portray rescue attempts, desperate phone calls, and nights alone on the mountain. The daring rescue at the climax of the piece is followed by shock at Peter’s death, then an agonized section of mourning as the funeral chimes become unbearably loud.
The poignant mixture of adventure, fear, heroism, and grief in this event form a highly personal microcosm of emotions and actions felt around the world in recent years. Unexpected disasters, injured survivors desperately hoping for rescue, heroic efforts to save lives, grief for the victims -- these ideas will resonate deeply with people in Japan, New Zealand, Haiti, Chile, and elsewhere. This piece attempts to recapture the emotions, celebrate the heroism of the rescuers, and honor those lost.
This piece is part of my National Park Series.
- Program Note by composer
The 2020 University of Minnesota performance reproduced the text of the conversation between Richards and the 911 operator as subtitles for the audience.
None discovered thus far.
To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project
- Indiana University (Bloomington) Wind Ensemble Chamber Winds (Rodney Dorsey, conductor) - 1 February 2022
- University of Minnesota (Minneapolis) Wind Ensemble (David Roush, conductor) - 10 October 2020
- XPlorium Ensemble (Taiwan) – 14 July 2011 *Premiere Performance*
Works for Winds by This Composer
- Between the Tundra and the Sky (2017)
- Ebullience (arr. David Campo) (2008/2017)
- Kennecott (2014)
- Mount Rainier Search and Rescue (2011/2018)
- Pursued (arr. Fred J. Allen) (2017)
- Tarantella (2018)
- Heritage Encyclopedia of Band Music. "Stephen Lias." Accessed 20 October 2020
- Lias, S. (2011). Mount Rainier Search And Rescue : For Saxophone Quartet and Percussion [score]. Alry Publications: Seattle, Wash.
- Stephen Lias website Accessed 1 October 2020