Portraits from the Heartland for solo guitar was composed to honor Indiana and its 2016 Bicentennial Celebration and it is dedicated to my friend and American virtuoso guitarist Adam Levin. This work is a tribute to the spirit of the American Midwest through its vernacular. The 1897 arrangement of “On the Banks of the Wabash, Far Away,” Indiana’s state song is the thread that weaves in the three movements of this composition and serves as a unifying element.
The first movement starts with evocative memories from the past, with very clear references to Indiana’s state song. Elements of bluegrass (as a tribute to Bill Monroe) come in and out of this rhapsodic first movement, while the song persists in its presence, although fading out as the movement ends.
In the second movement, those fragments of bluegrass music heard earlier take now the full shape of a bluegrass song. As the movement progresses, the strong pulse and energetic rhythm of heartland rock starts making its way to the foreground through the bluegrass texture.
The third movement brings the return of bluegrass, which will now blend with the chordal and rhythmic elements of heartland rock heard previously. The music eventually leads to a moderately fast final section based on a combination of previous ideas of bluegrass and the energetic gestures of heartland rock. This will lead after a climax, to a final, nostalgic, and very veiled reminiscence of “On the Banks of the Wabash, Far Away,” taking the work to its final and celebratory conclusion.
This work is not yet available, pending its world premiere by Adam Levin.