New Mexico Composers' Archive


High Places


Michael Mauldin

Publication Date



Written for the Albuquerque Youth Symphony in 1981, HIGH PLACES was inspired by a hike up La Luz Trail (on Sandia Mountain) several years earlier. With my infant son, Kendall, in a front pack, I descended and was struck by the dual sensation of exhilaration/serenity. More than oxygen deprivation, the deep insights lasted. I thought of the vision-quests of wise men through the ages and their penchant toward lofty places for meditation (I didn't know then that I would later meet the Dalai Lama, and that, even later, the story of his exile as a child from his lofty home, and of his mountain-climber man-friend, would help me understand the connection of my dual passions--spiritual places and the spiritual beauty of children). I usually enjoy hiding some kind of musical pun in my pieces. But I happily share them, as I wouldn't want anyone to take them too seriously. In this piece, the 'game' is the use of the opening, excited, 'ascending' theme--but in augmentation and inversion--as the basis for the quiet B-section, which peacefully (and reverently) observes the world from 'the other side'--from the top down.


Digitized with funding from the Center for Regional Studies.




Kjos Music Company


Orchestral music -- Scores, Mountains -- Songs and music

Document Type

Musical Score

01 High Places.mp3 (11121 kB)

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