for violin, alto saxophone, piano, and percussion
duration: 10 minutes
The Open Country is available on loan from the Canadian Music Centre or if you are interested in purchasing, please contact me.

The Open Country was written for The Rubbing Stone Ensemble and was inspired by the ensemble’s namesake. In preparation for writing this work, I and composers Nova Pon, and Aura Pon, walked up to “Nosehill Park” to find one of the “rubbing stones”. On “Nosehill Park” in Calgary, and other spots around the foothills, are large boulders (glacial erratics to be precise), that look like they have been dropped by a giant in a game of toss. On close inspection, one realizes the stones are smooth around certain corners; these are corners where long ago bison rubbed them smooth. As I looked towards the boulder, and the park behind it, I felt as if I had gone back in time, as though the land were the same as it was 500 years ago. Looking the other way, I saw the Calgary’s youthful skyline rise before the hill. With all the construction, and hustle and bustle, Calgary has a spirit of optimism and energy that is unique. These two sights inspired the contrasting material in the piece that is presented separately but in the end combines.

The Open Country was premiered by the Rubbing Stone Ensemble for New Works Calgary’s 25th Anniversary Concert on February 27, 2009 at the Rosza Centre, Calgary.

The Open Country was commissioned by the Rubbing Stone Ensemble and New Works Calgary with generous support of the Alberta Foundation for the Arts.