A Day on Hellroaring Plateau

For Concert Band

The Hellroaring Plateau is a landmass on the northeast extremity of the Absaroka mountain range straddling the Montana-Wyoming border. Its relatively flat topography and high elevation lead to intense winds and unpredictable storms bestowing the plateau’s colorful moniker. Contrary to the title, the music reflects a compilation of impressions from multiple visits over a decade’s time, gathered with my son’s first-hand reports of overnight stays, rather than a single day’s experience. My original objective for the music was to portray the stark and stony landscape alternatively caressed and buffeted in a stew of breezes and gales, sunshine and storms. However, as I was writing the piece it became apparent the true theme of the music is rather a daily high-altitude drama between light and darkness, a drama staged on the plateau’s rocks, meadows, streams, and lakes depicting a perpetually shifting kaleidoscope of distinctive lighting unlike any I have experienced elsewhere. The transparent, thin air reveals indigo blue skies and scalding-white clouds overarching stunning vistas stretching a hundred miles or more. The landscape glitters under the radiance of high-latitude sunlight. The only word I can think of to describe the golden glow of sunbeams slicing through a summer snow squall is ethereal. The utter absence of artificial light makes for the darkest night skies and brightest stars one can experience on earth.


Of course, it is impossible, or at least beyond my meager skills, to capture all of this in a few minutes of music. Still, the lasting impression this singular example of creation has made on my heart compels me to make the attempt. I hope the result lets you experience at least a touch of the sensation of being there.


Duration: ~9’30”






A Day on Hellroaring Plateau is a musical depiction of the daily drama between light and dark played out on the high-altitude tundra of the Absaroka Mountain range straddling the Wyoming-Montana border. This drama is staged in four acts: dark to dawn, an alpine summer morning, a sudden afternoon storm, and late-afternoon radiance returning back to starlit darkness. . The score is transposed but is keyless, as are the parts. Difficulty level is grade 5.

– Piccolo
– Flute 1 (alto flute), 2
– Oboe 1, 2
– English Horn
– Bassoon 1, 2
– Eb Clarinet
– Bb Clarinet 1, 2, 3
– Bb Bass Clarinet 1, 2
Eb Contrabass Clarinet OR
– Bb Contrabass Clarinet
– Eb Alto Saxophone 1, 2
– Bb Tenor Saxophone
– Eb Baritone Saxophone
– Bb Trumpet 1, 2, 3 OR
C Trumpet 1, 2, 3
– Horn in F 1, 2, 3, 4
– Trombone 1, 2
– Bass Trombone
– Euphonium 1, 2 OR
Baritone T.C. 1, 2
– Tuba 1, 2
– Timpani (4)
– Percussion 1: Marimba, Chimes, Glock, Xylophone
– Percussion 2: Vibes, Ride Cymbal, Triangle, Snare, Xylophone, Sus. Cymbal
– Percussion 3: Glock, Toms (3), Temple Blocks (5), Claves, Chimes, Large Gong, Slapstick,
Sus. Cymbal, Hand-held Rocks (2)
– Percussion 4: Tam Tam (bowed), Bass Drum, Hand Cymbals, Triangle, Large Gong, Sus. Cymbal
– Percussion 5: Bamboo Wind Chimes, Hand Cymbals, Mark Tree, Tambourine, Ride Cymbal,
Triangle, Large Gong

Robert Myers


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