About the Piece
The River explores a musical setting of Mark Twain’s famed novel “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn”. The piece is divided into three movements. The first movement - Huck Finn - paints the young protagonist of Huck Finn. Rustic scales and folk elements are used to place the listener in the early 19th century Mississippi region. The fun and bombastic theme highlights Huck’s youth and rebellious nature. This movement also symbolizes the concept of a river and the reflection one sees in its waters – as the movement’s form is palindromic with a “reflection” point occurring halfway through. The second movement – Deep River – paints the character of Jim, a runaway slave whom Huck befriends. Musically, the second movement is an arrangement of the traditional African American spiritual of the same name. The final movement – The Adventure Continues – combines both musical material from the two movements with an undercurrent of excitement as Huck and Jim set out on their quest. A small detour halfway through the piece, with a quirky bassoon solo, reflects the strange diversion in the novel with Tom Sawyer – who makes up a convoluted scenario to save Jim (despite it being a simple task). The novel ends with Huck going off into the sunset – unable to live a simple life, and the quintet ends with a similar sense of excitement and hopefulness.
Great for a developing Woodwind chamber group