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The Timberline Sonata
Composed in 2011 by
Stephen Lias

I was so fortunate to be selected as one of the 2010 Artists-in-Residence at Rocky Mountain National Park.  Although I had determined in advance that I'd be writing a trumpet sonata, I realized that I wouldn't have nearly enough time during my two-week residency to get the whole piece completed.  In order to capture the essence of the experience, and preserve it for later composing, I wrote about the things I wanted to say in each movement.  What began as jumbled thoughts, emotions, and images, quickly evolved into something resembling poetic prose.  I finished all four of these texts while spending time in the park and then created the music over the subsequent months - following my prose carefully as I composed.

The movements highlight four (of the many) iconic experiences associated with Rocky Mountain National Park.  First, the ARRIVAL - that memory of the initial time you come into the park and try to process the overwhelming variety of beauty that surrounds you.  Second, TRAIL RIDGE ROAD - surely one of the most beloved experiences of the park.  Third, I decided to focus on the endless variety of LAKES that the park has to offer and the range of moods they embody.  Last, and inevitably, THE ASCENT of Longs Peak - a dramatic and rewarding hike to the park's most imposing landmark. 

Below, I provide videos of three of the four sections.  Depending on the movement, images and/or words are provided to better tell the story behind the notes.

Timberline Sonata

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I. ARRIVAL
III. LAKES
IV. THE ASCENT