Old and Lost Rivers: A Soundscape of Texas Bayou Country

The marshy topography of the Texas and Louisiana Gulf Coast is dotted with bayous- meandering, slow-moving streams which can suddenly spring to life and transform into raging torrents. This dynamic process was on display over the weekend amid the catastrophic flooding in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. As we keep our friends in Houston in our thoughts, let’s listen to a piece which was inspired by this unique Texas topography.

American composer Tobias Picker (b. 1954) wrote Old and Lost Rivers in 1986. The brief, colorful orchestral tone poem was commissioned by the Houston Symphony to commemorate the sesquicentennial of Texas. Picker describes the inspiration for the piece:

Driving east from Houston along Interstate 10, you will come to a high bridge which crosses many winding bayous. These bayous were left behind by the great wanderings, over time, of the Trinity River across the land. When it rains, the bayous fill with water and begin to flow. At other times — when it is dry — they evaporate and turn green in the sun. The two main bayous are called ‘Old River’ and ‘Lost River’. Where they converge, a sign on the side of the highway reads: ‘OId and Lost Rivers.’

Old and Lost Rivers is a gradually unfolding soundscape full of bright, shimmering colors. There are nostalgic, dreamlike echoes of the music of Aaron Copland. Here is Christoph Eschenbach’s recording with the Houston Symphony:

Recordings

  • Picker: Old and Lost Rivers, Houston Symphony, Christoph Eschenbach Amazon
  • Tobias Picker’s complete discography iTunes
  • The Houston Symphony’s complete discography iTunes

About Timothy Judd

A native of Upstate New York, Timothy Judd has been a member of the Richmond Symphony violin section since 2001. He is a graduate of the Eastman School of Music where he earned the degrees Bachelor of Music and Master of Music, studying with world renowned Ukrainian-American violinist Oleh Krysa.

The son of public school music educators, Timothy Judd began violin lessons at the age of four through Eastman’s Community Education Division. He was a student of Anastasia Jempelis, one of the earliest champions of the Suzuki method in the United States.

A passionate teacher, Mr. Judd has maintained a private violin studio in the Richmond area since 2002 and has been active coaching chamber music and numerous youth orchestra sectionals.

In his free time, Timothy Judd enjoys working out with Richmond’s popular SEAL Team Physical Training program.

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