For many years in the 1980’s and 1990’s, I performed as a double bassist with the Flagstaff Festival of the Arts Orchestra during the month of July. Flagstaff, AZ, at 7000 ft., is idyllic in July and the festival was held in conjunction with a music camp on the campus of Northern Arizona University. The schedule offered ample opportunity to hike and spend time in nature, and also left me with a lot of time to write music.
The Alpine Preludes were written during the festival in 1989. I also wrote the Flagstaff Sketches during the same summer. They are short (most between one and two minutes) little essays that play off the first measure, moving away and then returning. They are not really little sets of variations, but they are very focused, like a Bach or Chopin prelude. They are also very agreeable, as the setting always puts me in a very good mood. I like to think of them as little walks in the woods which is something I did every morning when I was there, an alpine prelude to my day.