Canadian Rockies Suite Guitar Music

As mentioned on page 602 of Ben’s memoir An Orogenous Life.

Copyright 1990, 2004, 2013 by Ben Gadd

This is a collection of six original short guitar pieces. (Well, not completely original. One invokes a bit of George Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue.) Each piece is a favorite of mine. Some are rather difficult for an amateur such as me to play.

I debuted the first version of the suite at the Endangered Spaces Rally, Jubilee Auditorium in Edmonton, March 28th 1990. I played my Hagstrom H-11 acoustic guitar, amped through a cheap across-the-soundhole pickup, while my slides of plants, animals and adventures in the Rockies were being shown. There was an audience of 3000, and famous Canadian folksinger Valdy was the headliner.

Hey, I played the Jube with Valdy!

The suite didn’t change much for the next ten years. I sometimes played it, all or in part, while showing slides at my interpretive talks.

Then, after buying a fine Taylor 512 guitar in 2000, I worked on the suite more seriously. A year later I thought of it as finished. Some of it can be heard in Pat Morrow’s video about my novel Raven’s End when it was published in 2001. But after breaking my wrist in July of 2004, I found playing painful and quit for six years.

However, in September of 2010 I began playing again, mainly to record the suite. I didn’t know how to write music, so it would have been lost otherwise. Took me nearly three years to recover enough skill to play all six pieces reasonably well. Finished recording it on August 26th, 2013.

Order of pieces —

  1. Welcome to the Canadian Rockies
  2. Climbing Yamnuska
  3. Climbing Mount Robson
  4. The autumn off-season
  5. Icefield skiing
  6. Thinking about mountains