While the tune "Red River Valley" itself is known by several different titles and there are a number of versions of the lyrics, it is certainly one of the most beautiful American folk songs. The lyrics Kelly Via has chosen to work with in this Fantasia on Red River Valley are perhaps the most poignant, the text of each verse inspiring the musical setting. The bass and alto flutes at the beginning and end of the piece represent the heartbroken cowboy as he learns that his love is leaving, while the sound of the wind adds to his feelings of loneliness and despair. By the fourth verse, his pain and frustration gives way to a gentle remembrance of the love they once shared.
- 5 C Flutes
- 2 Alto Flutes
- Bass Flute
- Contrabass Flute/Contralto Flute (optional)