Symphony #4 "Wonderland's Gifts"
41 minutes | 1996-1997
Score 156 pages
"Blanket of Tranquility"
"Gentle Spirits Rising"
"Lighting the Dark"
Throughout the eighties and early nineties, the composer spent many a happy day (and night) at the Wonderland Hotel in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. With a spectacular setting and huge front porch that was once frequented by Teddy Roosevelt, this venerable lodge was the scene of countless weddings and honeymoons over the decades. However, the National Park Service chose to abandon the site in the nineties, letting it revert to natural state.
The title of the first movement refers to the fact that the front of the building faced Blanket Mountain, which provided a certain calmness to the scene. But coupled with this calmness was tremendous strength and an overall uplifting feeling. The front yard was filled with an abundance of centuries-old trees, and the composer always thought of these as "Gentle Spirits Rising". Finally, a magical atmosphere transformed the area at night, when humans (with their associated light in various forms) made their presence known in uniquely unnatural and light-hearted ways.