Brandt, Anthony K.
Doctor of Musical Arts
Everest is a six-minute work for orchestra. The piece is a reflection on the nature of the so-called "Romantic sublime," as represented by an ascent of Mount Everest. The sublime was a Romantic notion describing a powerful experience in which nature or the arts elevated man to the highest level of feeling, one where awe and terror coexist. The work is based on a four-note motive and a single chord progression, both presented in the opening of the piece. The fate of this basic musical material is bound up in the experience of the climber, especially as (s)he reaches the summit. The beginning of the piece presents two melodic versions of the main motive: one ultimately ascending and one ultimately descending. While the form of the piece is largely built upon an ascent through the four notes of the motive---each indicated by reaching a high, sustained note in the strings---it is the first and final notes of the piece that tell the fate of the journey. Rather than outlining the ascending form of the motive, suggesting man's conquest of the impossible, the interval outlines an ultimate descent, leaving only the mountain and the realization that the impossible is eternal, while man, alas, is not.