Nā Pali Coast

for French horn and orchestra (2008)

Commissioned by the Mobile Symphony
Premiere: Saenger Theater, Mobile, AL; January 17, 2008
Jeff Leenhouts, horn; Scott Speck, conductor
Duration 9:00 – - timp; hp – str
Solo horn

Nā Pali is Hawaiian for “the cliffs” and the name of the breathtaking coastline which extends along the northwest of Kauai. For centuries, its towering face has been beaten by wind and rain which have pounded away layers of igneous rock to leave immense blade-like protrusions above and caverns big enough to drive a boat through down below.

My wife and I toured the coast first by boat and then by helicopter yielding two vastly different impressions. By boat, the cliffs are sad and bleak, dark caves of craggy stone imperiled by the raging elements. By air, the scene is magical and scenic, green towers of stone majestically rising from sandy beaches and waves crashing safely below.

Nā Pali Coast was commissioned by the Mobile Symphony, Scott Speck, Music Director. It was premiered on January 17, 2009 by the Mobile Symphony with hornist Jeffrey Leenhouts as soloist.

−Kevin Puts