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|Length:||39 minutes, 37 seconds.|
|Released:||February 11th, 1997|
From the overture to the final curtain call, KUED-Channel 7 takes you across Southern Utah's breathtaking western landscapes -- all set to music by the world's greatest classical composers. This enchanting musical journey showcases the natural wonders of the state with a grand sweep of the Four Corners area, plus segments of the Anasazi, outdoor recreation, and cowboys.
Produced by KUED's Jeff Elstad with cinematography by John Howe.
"I hope viewers will appreciate Desert Serenade on a poetic level," says Elstad, who created the program as his first effort as a producer. "America's desert Southwest is a region that I love. I hope I've captured the essence of the people and place."
Desert Serenade is divided into six segments, each unique in its own right. The film opens with "Canyon Country," a regional overview set to Mahler's Fifth Symphony. Elstad says he chose the Adagietto because of its "moody, melodic development in long evocative strains that worked well against aerials and time lapse photography."
Desert mountain biking, hang gliding, back country hiking, and white water rafting are featured in "Wild Things," a segment highlighting the excitement of outdoor recreation with an upbeat work from Dvorak. "Wranglers" proves that the cowboy experience can be reflected in music by Schubert. "It's amazing to me that the Schubert piece is Viennese in nature and origin, but sounds like the American West -- it works with cowboys," Elstad says.
"Vanished" quietly explores the story of the Anasazi people. Visiting haunting ruins of cave dwellings of a vanished civilization, the segment is set to Bach's melancholy Air on the G string that evokes the mysteries of the Anasazi people.
Desert Serenade also includes a segment on rodeo, set to Palestrina's Stabat Mater. Elstad slowed down the video to provide another perspective on the sport. "I wanted people to be able to see the brutal reality of riding a bull or a bronco. Things happen so quickly at a rodeo that you really can't see what these guys go through," he says.
The program primarily features John Howe's breathtaking footage from previous KUED projects over the past five years, though it also includes clips from the work of local producers Michael Dungan and Brian Capener. Elstad says Desert Serenade is a tribute to Howe and his cinematic eye. "His love for this part of the country is reflected in the work he does. I think this is a testimony to his talent," he says. "I've been working with him for ten years and I am intimate with the footage that he's shot over those years. In many cases footage just didn't make it into his shows, but now I can showcase photography that no one has ever seen."
Desert Serenade is made possible by O.C. Tanner.
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