The Great Smokies


Composer: Christopher Goldston
Series: Original Solos
Instrumentation: Piano Solo
Level: Intermediate
Key: G Major, C Major, D Major, E Major
Time Signature: 8/8, 4/4, 6/8
Style/Character: Rhythmic, Lyrical, Virtuosic
Concepts: Pedal, Hand Crossings, Arpeggios, Voicing
Page Count: Music 14, Total 20
Printing Suggestion: Booklet on tabloid paper, double-sided, stapled
Released: 2022

Additional Info:  Inspired by the popular recital piece “The Great Smoky Mountains” by David Carr Glover, The Great Smokies is a set of four pieces that depicts scenes from western North Carolina. My parents retired to these same mountains for the beauty of the area. The Smoky Mountains are part of the peaks that make up the Blue Ridge Mountains, which are actually part of the much larger chain of the Appalachian Mountains. The Smoky Mountains get their name from the Cherokee word Shaconage, which means “place of the blue smoke,” referring to the blue haze that often hangs on the mountain peaks.

“Great Smoky Mountains Railroad” is inspired by “Little Train of Caipira” (a toccata from Bachianas Brasileiras No. 2) by Heitor Villa-Lobos. Listen as the train accelerates at the beginning of the journey, then slows to a stop, followed by a long whistle at the end. Built in the late 1800s, the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad still runs today and is a tourist attraction for passenger journeys.

“A Mountain Morning” can take you on a journey of your choosing. Imagine looking out over the mountains as the sun breaks through the blue haze and clouds.

“Mountain Waterfall” depicts the majesty of the numerous waterfalls throughout the region. This piece incorporates lots of hand crossing. In the middle of the piece and again at the end, crosshanded arpeggio figures cover the keyboard.

“Nantahala Rapids” also uses cross-handed arpeggio figures but this time as the main theme of the entire piece. White water rafting is popular in western North Carolina, including on the Nantahala River. Nantahala is a Cherokee word meaning “land of the noonday sun.” It is said that the forest is so lush and dense here that the sun only reaches the valley floor at noon. Interestingly, Margaret Goldston wrote a set of pieces about Alaska called Land of the Midnight Sun, which refers to the long summer days close to the Arctic Circle when the sun seemingly never sets.

The production of this collection is partially funded by a part-time faculty development grant from Columbia College Chicago.

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