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Grand Canyon Suite - On The Trail Beautiful Music Video

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    The Grand Canyon Suite is a suite for orchestra by Ferde Grofé, composed during the period from 1929 to 1931. It consists of 5 parts or movements, each an evocation in tone of a particular scene typical of the Grand Canyon. Paul Whiteman and his orchestra introduced the first public performance of the work, initially titled "Five Pictures of the Grand Canyon", in concert at the Studebaker Theater in Chicago on November 22, 1931.

    Composer Eric Ewazen has a composition called "Grand Canyon Octet" which is occasionally incorrectly referred to as The Grand Canyon Suite.


    The five movements of Grand Canyon Suite are entitled "Sunrise", "Painted Desert", "On the Trail", "Sunset" and "Cloudburst".

    * Sunrise opens with a representation of the moment of dawn in the canyon. The feeling of peace is present, a sense of still air, of a place owned by nature. Gradually we hear the sun mount the sky until the joyous proclamations of the full orchestra announce the arrival of another splendid and radiant day. Two main musical themes are presented: the first, announced by the piccolo, opens with a four-note motive (B-C#-G#-B) which will reappear later in the work in different guises; the second theme appears in the strings. After the trill by the piccolo, the descending notes that follow reflect the call of the canyon wren, a widespread but not frequently seen songbird common in the canyon country and desert southwest.

    * The Painted Desert is a watercolor of impressive delicacy and subtlety. Grofé manages to suggest the presence of some ageless, unchanging life still present in the arid and apparently lifeless desert, in the brilliant, sometimes startling colors of the rock formations, the geologic artwork of prehistory. Ingenious usage of chords and orchestral tone abound.

    * On the Trail is the best-known of the movements of the Grand Canyon Suite, the aural report of the day riding on the back of a pack donkey (imitating its clip-clop), beginning and ending with a great "hee-haw". A violin cadenza is used to wonderful effect. The principal theme of this movement, which is presented by the horns, and later, trombones, serves as the central motif of the suite.

    * Sunset is a nostalgic and pleasantly sentimental rendering of the most glorious of Grand Canyon moments, when the sky is alive with vibrant colors above the deepening shadows in the great gorge.

    * Cloudburst opens with a sleepy recollection of the theme from "On the Trail" in the upper strings. Then we enter a summation, a kind of panoramic view of the vastness of this Western scene, with brief references to other themes in the work. On to this scene suddenly come dark, scudding clouds and a rising wind. A lone cello solo suggests a mood of apprehension. The evening air is filled with fine sand and bits of tumbleweed, in the form of eerie slow violin glissandi. The storm breaks, with lightning, thunder and pelting rain. Then even more quickly, it is gone, with a last crash of lightning and peal of thunder. The moon emerges from behind the clouds and the earth rejoices in refreshed pleasure in a climactic rousing finish.


    The Grand Canyon Suite is featured in the Grand Canyon Diorama on the Disneyland Railroad.

    Grand Canyon is a 1958 short Walt Disney film in CinemaScope format directed by James Algar. It features color film footage of the Grand Canyon accompanied by three movements from the Grand Canyon Suite. In the manner of Fantasia, there is no story and no dialogue. The film won an Academy Award in 1959 for Best Short Subject.

    The third movement of the suite also features in the 1983 film A Christmas Story.

    "On the Trail" was used for many years as the "musical signature" for radio (and later television) programs sponsored by Philip Morris cigarettes (beginning with their 1933 radio program featuring Ferde Grofe and his orchestra). Jon Hendricks wrote lyrics for "On the Trail" and the song was recorded for Hendricks' album To Tell the Truth (1975). - Wikipedia
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