Retrace (2018)

Flute, violin, and cello. 7 ½ mins.

A work inspired by the Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail, explored through an independent artist residency following the trail from Los Angeles to San Francisco, CA.

Retrace was written in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the National Trails System Act of 1968, for World Premiere on the Landscape Music: Rivers & Trails concert series.

A poem emerged through my compositional process. Each section of the music relates to a section of text. While the music may stand alone, I’ve chosen to share my poem in hopes that it will enrich the listening experience:

“Retrace”
Poem by Nell Shaw Cohen

ECHOES OF THE PAST
Hundreds leave home
Sing the Trail
To make a new life in Alta California.

ON THE OPEN LAND
Vast blue, bright light
Retrace the Trail
On the footpaths of California.

FANDANGO OF THE PAST
Spanish, Native, Mestizo, Afro-Latino
Dance the Trail
From the Sonoran Desert to the Golden Gate.

ON THE OPEN ROAD
City, suburb, beach, and farm
Retrace the Trail
On the highways of California.

THE PAST IS PRESENT
1,200 of miles of stories
Thread through the landscape
Map the Trail
Onto the United States.

SACRED SPACE
A Mission church and its gardens
Abalone shells in the cemetery:
A memorial to thousands of Native lives destroyed. They made the trail.
Their legacy and their descendants:
Still here.

We retrace the Trail.

Related Content
Performance History
  • Citywater, Landscape Music: Rivers & Trails on Visions of the Wild at Empress Theatre, Vallejo CA, 9/23/18; Westminster Presbyterian Church, Sacramento CA, 10/24/18; and Sacramento State Festival of New American Music, Sacramento CA, 11/02/18.
  • Michigan Technological University, Landscape Music: Rivers & Trails at McArdle Theatre, Houghton MI, 10/04/18.
  • Cascadia ComposersLandscape Music: Rivers & Trails at The Old Church, Portland OR, 10/07/18.
  • Juventas New Music EnsembleLandscape Music: Rivers & Trails at First Church Boston, Boston New Music Festival, Boston MA, 10/27 and 11/03/18.