Song of the Mountains

A choral setting of text by American naturalist John Muir

For mixed choir (SSAATB) with piano accompaniment

Duration: 6 minutes

Driven by a refreshing text of American naturalist John Muir, Bartholomew has created an accessible work that flows easily through both key and meter changes, and features expressive, lyric melodies contrasted by exciting rhythmic drive. Song of the Mountains is almost cantata-like, or through-composed, in that each line of Muir's text receives equal and interesting interpretation. Occasional use of the triplet rhythm creates both a relaxing effect ("grasses cease waving") and driving sense of forward motion ("Vibrating!"). Effective use of dynamics and interweaving of choral parts make for each section having a musical life of its own. — Cindy Bell, conductor

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Text · Performance History · Purchase Sheet Music

A setting of text adapted from prose by American naturalist John Muir (1838-1914). Commissioned for the Combined Choirs of St. Joseph's School, Seattle, directed by Rick Boyle, who premiered the piece at Benaroya Hall's Nordstrom Recital Hall on May 6, 2004, in the second annual "New Works New Hope" concert for the benefit of Gilda's Club Seattle. The piece was revised in 2007 and the premiere of the revised score was given on November 16, 2007, by the Queens College Chorus, Cindy Bell conducting, at the Aaron Copland School of Music in New York.

Song of the Mountains is a Project Encore selection.

Song of the Mountains

Climb the mountains and get their good tidings.
Nature's peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees.
The winds will blow their freshness into you,
and the storms their energy,
while cares drop off like autumn leaves.

Here is calm so deep, grasses cease waving.
Everything in wild nature fits into us,
as if truly part and parent of us.
The sun shines not on us but in us.
The rivers flow not past, but through us,
thrilling, tingling, vibrating every fiber and cell
of the substance of our bodies,
Making them glide and sing.

The trees wave and the flowers bloom
in our bodies as in our souls,
and every bird song, wind song,
and tremendous storm song of the rocks
in the heart of the mountain, is our song,
our very own, and sings our love.

Portrait of Young John Muir
by artist John McCormick

Purchase Sheet Music

Sheet music for Song of the Mountains is available from J. W. Pepper.

Performance History

Premiered May 6, 2004, by the Combined Choirs of St. Joseph School, Seattle, Rick Boyle conducting, Benaroya Hall, Seattle

Revised Score Premiered November 16, 2007, Queens College Chorus, Cindy Bell conducting, Aaron Copland School of Music, Queens, NY

April 6, 2013, Portland Vocal Consort, Ryan Heller conducting, First Christian Church, Portland, Oregon

May 7 & 8, 2016, by the Acadia Choral Society, under Jamie Hagedorn, at St Saviour's Parish, Maine.

June 4, 2016, by the Acadia Choral Society, under Jamie Hagedorn, at St Andrew Lutheran Church, Ellsworth, Maine.

March 23 & 24, 2019, by the Rogue Valley Chorale under Michael Morris at the Collier Center's Craterian Theater, Medford, Oregon.