“River Run” for Concert Band

“River Run” captures the spirit of a wild, white water rafting trip in the summer of 2017. My family and I took a guided tour down the Ocoee River, specifically a section built for the 1996 Olympic Games, which runs through the Ocoee Gorge in the Chattahoochee National Forest. It features the longest stretch of class III and IV rapids in the country. We had a great time, but the raft overturned throwing us into fast moving rapids with sharp rocks. We came out of it unscathed, but it was a harrowing experience none the less.

Xylophone and marimba create the feeling of swift currents underlying foreboding melodic contours. Splashy percussion sounds like waves crashing on rocks, while three distinct melodic themes represent specific rapids on the Ocoee.

“River Run” features progress tonality meaning it starts in the key of C Phrygian and ends in the key of G minor without returning to the original key. This technique was made popular in the 19th century by romantic composers including Mahler, Schubert, Chopin, Brahms and Mendelssohn.

Click on the photo below or here to watch the video.

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