Cumberland Rhapsody uses a variety of styles to capture energy and warmth. Technically, the piece requires
agile woodwinds. The opening is broad and bursting with full octaves of woodwinds with rich brass
responses. The first 7/8 section indicates the introduction of a new intenxe energy complimented with
punctuated brass that depicts the grandeur of the Cumberland River and its beginnings in the Eastern
Mountains of Tennessee. The woodwinds follow with a brisk motivic melody that depicts the river flowing
over rocks and water falls, making its way westward.
After the second 7/8 entrance, the dynamics go down significantly and a warm woodwind choir begins. A
lengthy crescendo builds as instruments are added with a low tom-tom 8th note pattern that sustains the
significant forward motion as the river widens and makes its way to Nashville and ecentually, Clarksville.
This section reaches a full forte peak before a sudden stop leaving an alto saxophone soloist to move into
a much warmer chorale section. Several key changes provide forward motion although this section is much
slower and less rhythmic. Next is a recapitulation of the earlier brisk melody which gradually intensifies with
full instrumentation before a climactic coda. The work culminates with the final heavily accented 7/8.