from The Washington Post, March 8, 1977

David Amram's 'Trail of Beauty'

David Amram had an interesting idea when he decided to base his new composition, "The Trail of Beauty" on "poetry, prayers and speeches of native American peoples" and to use motifs from Indian music liberally in his composition.

This music exists, of course, on a totally different level, and its relation to more commercial users of similar motifs was more one of exorcism than of evocation; that point emerges when you see the work as a whole, particularly the opening section (which return at the end) evoking the total life-cycle in its relation to natural beauty. "Haunting" is the word for this music, and even more for the long passage in the final movement which uses Chief Seattle's words to express the Red Man's relation to the land, with an admonition to the white usurper:

"The very dust on which you now stand ...
At night when the streets of your cities and villages are silent
They will throng with the returning hosts
That once filled and still love this beautiful land."

Two soloists, mezzo-soprano Rose Taylor and oboist John de Lancie, joined the orchestra in a powerful performance of this superbly crafted thoughtful and evocative music. After the intermission, Bruckner's Fourth Symphony gave the orchestra and Eugene Ormandy a splendid opportunity to display their matchless tone.

-- Joseph McLellan


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