High Sierra Zen

bassoon and piano

duration: 3 minutes

High Sierra Zen was premiered by Nate Zeisler, bassoon and Lembit Beecher, piano, at the University of Michigan on November 20, 2006.

Program Notes:

There’s a strange moment that I have often come to near the middle of a long hike. It’s generally triggered by an extreme display of natural beauty – maybe I’ve just turned around to look back at the way I’ve come and suddenly there’s this incredible, rugged panorama stretching out below me. But sometimes this moment just arrives and I’m not sure why.

What happens is this: despite, or perhaps partly because of my panting breath, aching back and empty legs, my mind goes completely still. Some part of my subconscious can still feel my heart pounding and my body racing to provide all the billions of things that my needy cells require but for a moment I am calm, experiencing everything so intensely but not processing anything at all. This moment usually only lasts for a few seconds. This piece is that moment, or perhaps the soundtrack to that moment, stretched out for a long, long three minutes.