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Love, Loss, and Revenge

Love, Loss, and Revenge

The Rose of Sonora by George S. Clinton (b. 1947) tells the story of Rose in five scenes (movements). This Western-style violin concerto’s outlaw cowgirl is portrayed by the violin solo performed by Holly Mulcahy.

Rose’s journey begins in September 1893 in the Old West where she frees her partner, Jed, from jail. They escape to their hideout, but members from their former gang have hunted them down to steal their gold back. Jed is killed while Rose is fatally wounded. Rose mourns Jed and places a single yellow rose on this grave as she prepares to get revenge. Rose tracks down Jed’s killers – slaughtering them all – and reclaims the gold. Victorious, she rides off into the Sonora sunset.

Clinton was inspired by the true stories about the women in the Old West and created The Rose of Sonora starring a heroine. The composer’s intent was to create an interactive listening experience for the audience. As such, descriptions of what is happening in each scene are read by a narrator (WFMT's LaRob K. Rafael) to help the audience create a “mental movie” of this epic Western adventure of love, loss, and revenge. A male chorus (Allegrezza singers) is also featured in the piece.

Clinton met Mulcahy in his hometown, Chattanooga, TN, at a film music festival. Mulcahy approached Clinton about composing a violin concerto for her in an epic Western style. The pair love film scores and want to make orchestral music more relatable for today’s audiences. The award-winner composer has scored more than 100 films including “Austin Powers International Man of Mystery” and its blockbuster sequels; Disney’s “Santa Clause” sequels; “Mortal Kombat” 1 & 2; “Wild Things”, “Red Shoe Diaries”, John Water’s “A Dirty Shame,” and the Emmy Award-winning “Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee.”