The Beartooth is a delightful musical romp across the alpine tundra of the Absaroka Plateau sure to please audiences and musicians alike. It’s the third movement of my Absaroka Suite and focuses on the geological formation known as The Bear’s Tooth. The music fits in a grade 4 difficulty level and would make a fine contest or concert feature. The music is less programmatic than the other movements of the suite. To put it in other words the music doesn’t tell a story. Rather, developing themes introduced in the opening movement, it reflects emotions sparked by the alpine landscape: wonder and awe at the massive landforms, a sense of life, freedom, and spaciousness amid the big skies and clear air, and serenity amid nature’s reflection of its Creator’s glory. The landscape’s heights and verticality are represented with persistently rising and suddenly descending motives. Bold punctuations evoke the awe of such a vast expanse. The cantering main theme expresses sensations of freedom, danger, and smallness so unfamiliar to the technologically immersed which must have been the staple diet of early explorers and natives in this land, lying much as it has for millennia; and the theme’s upward leaps portray the peak’s sudden rising. The closing, fittingly marked “Serene,” imparts the utter peace one feels having come to know such an extraordinary place, to agree with the writer of Genesis 1:31: “God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good.”
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