13. The Mountains
The Sierra Nevada mountains presented the final, terrible challenge for the pioneers heading to California. They were SO close, and had come SO far. But these vertiginous peaks, standing directly in their path, offered them nothing but grief and pain…and often death.
Each step in the Sierra for the pioneers was a walk with fear. Written for soloist quartet, chorus and a solemn then dramatic orchestral score, The Mountains gives the listener plenty of fear.
Fear lives in these mountains
Fear comes from the crags and stones
From a peak so tall. Down a canyon falling
Fear flows deep in your bones
Fear breeds in these mountains
Dread drags down each step you take
Strength is quickly gone. Fear descends upon you
‘Til your will starts to breaK
Fear rules in these mountains
Fear reigns in this dangerous place
High on a towering ledge we gaze o’er the edge
And pray for sustaining grace!
Save us! Danger waits!
Orchestral & Choral Version
Piano & Choral Version*
*Original Cast CD recording from August 1993:
Joy Bechtler, Soprano
Polly Kopituk, Mezzo-Soprano
David Ronis, Tenor
Martin Hargrove, Bass
Eric Houghton, Piano/Composer