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Mountain Fado
Fado da montanha

for violin (or cello) and piano (2023)

Duration: 4.5 minutes

Program Note:

For Margot Walk

with gratitude from the musicians of

the Grand Teton Music Festival

who celebrate her creating an atmosphere for

music, creativity, and friendship.


Fado is a genre of song from Lisbon, Portugal tracing its roots to the early 1800s. The prominent emotion of this genre is “saudade,” a nuanced and complex combination of loss, longing, nostalgia, and melancholy. I think ethnomusicologist Lila Ellen Gray describes it best in her book Fado Resounding, "Saudade exists as a way of being in the present and feeling the past while dreaming for a future" (p. 83). It’s at this intersection of past, present, and future that I composed Mountain Fado.

My Mountain Fado is influenced by a romance, a place this romance developed and ended, the things I regret, and other things I am grateful for. I spent much of 2016 traveling back and forth between Austin, TX and Jackson, WY because of this relationship. It eventually came to an end, but I grew a lasting love for the Grand Teton mountains, the national parks, and the Grand Teton Music Festival.


When I was asked to compose a new violin piece to honor Margot Walk and all she has done for the festival, I was emotionally transported to Jackson Hole, 2016, and Maestro Runnicles’ 10th season. Nicola Benedetti performing the Korngold Violin Concerto in Walk Festival Hall was a particular highlight for me. In Mountain Fado, I’ve sought to distill my love, loss, and nostalgia for Jackson Hole into a lyrical, contemplative song-without-words for violin and piano.


Holly Mulcahy, violin and Adelle Eslinger Runnicles, piano

Walk Festival Hall, Teton Village, WY

July 26, 2023


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