I grew up in Colorado, with the mountains as a fixture to my west, for all of the first 22 years of my life. When I moved to Michigan for graduate school, I soon realized how big a part of my life (and my sense of direction) those mountains were. There is something comforting about a massive and immovable wall of earth always on one side of me, showing me which direction was which, that you don’t realize until you no longer have it.
A Small Blue Cloud is inspired by a drive I took with my dad back to Colorado on I-70 after leaving Michigan. The vast view of the v, which stretched on for hundreds of miles, slowly and indistinctly give way to a faint blur on the horizon that, as you edge closer, you soon realize are the distant Rocky Mountains. The piece is meant to evoke the experience of the slow and meditative crawl through the plains towards these mountains, constantly and persistently getting closer.
The piece takes its name from a journal entry by Zebulon Pike in 1806 when he first spots the distant peak that is his namesake, and describes it as looking “like a small blue cloud.”like-a-small-blue-cloud-Full-Score-Transposed
2018, Noelle Limbird, University of Colorado