Songs About John Muir
John Muir Tribute CD Now Available!
Each of the following links offers artist and album information, sound clips, and lyrics.
Songs Inspired by John Muir
Orchestral and Opera Music Inspired by John Muir
- This Grand Show is Eternal music by Lee Kesselman
- a setting of texts by John Muir, commissioned and performed by San
Francisco Lyric Chorus in honor of their 10th anniversary.
- Winds composed by Richard Cowan, Artist
in Residence, Northern Kentucky University - a 25 minute piece
for small orchestra and solo tenor, a quasi-operatic role that has John Muir
as narrator in Muir's beautiful text A
Wind Storm in the Forest. In this orchestral -operatic work we follow
Muir noticing the budding windstorm in a friend's log cabin, his climb up the
mountain, shimmying up the tree, enjoying the colors, scents and rhythms
of the wind storm, and the slow descent in the evening, as the storm dies away.
The world premiere of this operatic work will take place in July of 2006 in
France, on Belle Ile en Mer, off the Coast of Brittany, as part of the Lyrique
in Mer Festival, the largest opera festival in Western France.
- "River of Mercy," composed by Andrew Norman, had its world premiere
in Oakland's Paramount Theatre on April 22, 2007. This 22-minute opus, commissioned
by Michael Morgan and the Oakland East Bay Symphony, is a paean to the splendors
of the Merced River. Using spoken excerpts from writings of the naturalist
John Muir as a guide, it traces the river's course from the Sierras down to
the sea. (Source: Review:
"Aquatic imagery doesn't hold water in 'River of Mercy' by Joshua Kosman,
Chronicle Music Critic, San Francisco Chronicle, April 23, 2007.
- Tree Ride, composed by Justin Ralls, performed by San Francisco Conservatory of Music Orchestra (YouTube). "Tree Ride" was inspired by John Muir's famous essay "Wind-storm in the Forests of the Yuba." The first time Muir consciously chose to make himself the subject of his writing, he recounts the ecstasy of climbing a douglas fir to "obtain a wider outlook and get my ear close to the Aeolian music of its topmost needles."
(Premiered by the San Francisco Conservatory of Music Orchestra under the direction of Scott Sandmeier, September 28, 2013).
- Two Yosemites: An Outdoor Chamber Opera by Justin Ralls. An opera adapted from the play "The Tramp and the Roughrider"
by Lee Stetson, adapted from letters, speeches, and writings of John
Muir and Theodore Roosevelt. Two Yosemites: An Outdoor Opera coming to a National Park near you by Justin Ralls. | Act One is available on YouTube.
Premiered by the San Francisco Conservative of Music New Music Ensemble, Conducted by Nicole Paiement on May 13, 2014.
- John Muir - University of the Wilderness, a narrative concert for voice and string quartet, composed by Ed Willett, performed by Chance. This piece uses the conservationist's own words to tell his story. Read article and listen to interview of the composer and excerpts of the composition from Public Radio International (PRI) "Living on Earth" series: New music brings conservationist John Muir's story to life (
June 22, 2015).
See also John Muir Bibliography, Music Section for annotations, and additional listings of instrumental music inspired by John Muir.
For more environmental songs, including Songs About Hetch Hetchy, go to Harold Wood's collection of Earth Songs (offsite link)
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