Death Valley Suite

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The Death Valley Suite is a short symphonic suite written by Ferde Grofé in 1949, depicting the westward travels of pioneers through the 'harsh lands' of Death Valley in California.

The movements are titled:

  • I. Funeral Mountains - a strange atonal movement in 5/4 time
  • II. '49er Emigrant Train - features colorful musical depictions of an Indian attack and a wagon train
  • III. Desert Water Hole - a medley mixing Oh, Susannah and the main theme of the piece.
  • IV. Sand Storm - another atonal movement featuring a wind machine with a final coda recapitulating the main dramatic theme.