The majesty of the Grand Canyon unfolds musically and visually in the spectacle of Ferde Grofé’s expansive musical palette accompanied by stunning projected imagery. Read about what you’ll hear during the Grand Canyon Suite and view images of the projections that will capture your attention during our November 12-14 concerts, Grand Panorama.

What You’ll See

What You’ll Hear

Sunrise, the opening movement, is based upon a continuously-rising ostinato that builds to a great orchestral climax, as woodwind chirps and twitters stand in for the awakening birds. Painted Desert is a quiet moment of mysterious Impressionist effects, portraying the stark beauty and heat of this landscape. On the Trail is Grofé’s famous sound portrait of the donkey trains that carry tourists down into the canyon. After a “hee-haw” of protest and a brief violin cadenza, the donkeys begin a steady pace down the precipitous trail. At the bottom. there is a more lyrical cowboy song, as the tourists rest their saddle sores in preparation for the long ride home. Sunset, opens with a horn call, answered by the main theme, played in rather spooky string timbres. The movement eventually dies away to into darkness. There are many orchestral renditions of thunderstorms, but Grofé’s Cloudburst has to be one of the most effective. It begins quietly, but moves inexorably towards a crashing climax, driven by ostinato-style writing in the brass, and flashes of orchestral lightning. In the end, the storm fades away and is replaced by a broad statement of the cowboy tune from On the Trail. Discover more about this piece and our entire November program in Michael Allsen’s Program Notes.