GHOST RANCH for cello octet (1997) - 8 min.
Commissioned by the Arts Council of Wales for the Musicfest Cello Ensemble
Ghost Ranch (1997) was written for the Musicfest Cello Ensemble (UK). The work is a musical impression of the natural beauty and legends of Ghost Ranch in Northern New Mexico. Located in Abiquiu, about an hour and a half north of Santa Fe. The 21,000 acres that comprise Ghost Ranch were part of a land grant to Pedro Martin Serrano from the King of Spain in 1766. The grant was called "Piedra Lumbre" (shining rock).
The name "Ghost Ranch," or the local name "Rancho de los Brujos" (Ranch of the Witches), was derived from the many tales of ghosts and legends of hangings in the Ranch's history. Ghost Ranch was the place of solace and inspiration for artist Georgia O’Keeffe. In 1934, 12 years after her first visit to Northern New Mexico, O'Keeffe made Ghost Ranch her summer home. As seen in the paintings done by O’Keeffe, rock palaces of red, orange, pink, gold, and variations of browns surround this area.
Musically, a mournful melodic gesture by a solo cello introduces the work, which soon becomes more animated with the juxtaposition of various rhythmic and melodic sound – streams. A pointillistic section then gives way to music with increasing rhythmic drive. Following several energetic harmonic bursts by the full ensemble, the work closes much as it began.
Performance materials available from the composer.