Vermont is famous for its green mountains, but I often find myself taking long drives through the mountains on overcast days or even at night, when the mountains lose color and become gray silhouettes. Many roads in Vermont are so dark, particularly in the Northeast Kingdom, that you need to use headlights, even during the day. Dark Mountains is meant to portray the beauty and grandeur of the mountains and the peacefulness of the open roads, but also the darkness and occasional treacherous passes one may encounter during the evening hours. The piece is in three connected sections. The first section portrays the calmness and austerity of a quiet evening. The second is inspired by a fast drive down winding country roads, with twists and turns, frequent tempo changes and shifting gears. The final section evokes the feeling of looking at the nighttime sky with moonlight shining through the trees and the sounds of nature in the distance.
This piece is commissioned by and dedicated to the Vermont Symphony Orchestra and Jaime Laredo, and was originally written for the Made in Vermont Music Festival.