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North Dakota: The Peace Garden State - Piano - Gerou

The three movements of North Dakota: The Peace Garden State capture the spirit of this northern state. In "The Meandering Missouri," an atmospheric piece in Dorian mode and 3/4 meter, the Missouri River is depicted by a gentle accompaniment and lingering melody, making the piece reminiscent of a "Gymnopédie." A contrasting middle section with unexpected harmonies and parallel-moving triads brings the movement to a majestic climax before the opening melody returns and the movement ends quietly. By contrast, "Black Gold Rag" is an upbeat ragtime number, which captures the excitement of the modern crude oil "gold rush" in the state. Lively syncopation and playful gestures in the melody evoke the booming population of the thriving region. To conclude the suite, "A Garden of Peace" paints a picture of the International Peace Garden on the border of the United States and Canada. Long, meditative melodies and descending arpeggios that weave between the hands contribute to this movement's serenity. Changing meters and changing key signatures provide students with musical challenges, while the pianistic patterns lay comfortably in the hands. "Black Gold Rag" and "A Garden of Peace" are Federation Festivals 2016-2020 selections.