It’s a great day to enjoy band music and stirring patriotic fare. Me, I think I’ll settle down with a listen to Alan Hovhaness’s second symphony, “Mysterious Mountain.”
You might think this is a strange choice, but Hovhaness struck me as a restless soul, searching for a beauty in nature, especially his beloved mountains. As for the US, one of our good points is the restless aspiration that is part of our ethic, part of what the many peoples have brought to our shores. It was here before the Europeans got here, of course.
The composer himself:
Mountains are symbols, like pyramids, of man’s attempt to know God. Mountains are symbolic meeting places between the mundane and spiritual worlds. To some, the Mysterious Mountain may be the phantom peak, unmeasured, thought to be higher than Everest, as seen from great distances by fliers in Tibet. To some, it may be the solitary mountain, the tower of strength over a countryside–Fujiyama, Ararat, Monadnock, Shasta or Grand Teton. . .
I’ve lost track of the versions of this I have in my library. The Seattle Symphony disc is as good as any; this conductor and orchestra have recorded a good deal of this composer, so familiarity would seen to be a bonus.
If you’re looking for some uniquely American music, this might also be a day for either jazz or bluegrass. If you’re asking my opinion, you couldn’t go wrong either way. Or both ways, if you can find it, as with the marvelous and inimitable Tony Rice: