TV review: KUED's 'Red Rock Serenade' displays majestic beauty of Southwest

Published: Monday, June 2 2014 6:04 p.m. MDT

A scene from KUED's "Red Rock Serenade." The program will air locally on Tuesday, June 3, at 7 p.m.

KUED

“Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves.”

Thank you, John Muir. Following his writings that expressed the inherent spirit in nature and his enthusiasm for maintaining its original beauty, many wilderness areas were preserved as national parks.

“God never made an ugly landscape,” the naturalist wrote. “All that the sun shines on is beautiful, so long as it is wild.”

And Muir, who is often referred to as the "father of our national parks," pointed out the benefits of nature in clear and simple terms: “In every walk with nature, one receives far more than he seeks.”

Though there is no direct reference to Muir in the new KUED program “Red Rock Serenade,” it’s difficult not to recall Muir’s efforts while viewing the majestic beauty of the sweeping American Southwest vistas. PBS asked KUED to produce the program and will broadcast it locally on June 3 at 7 p.m. before it airs nationally.

Unlike conventional documentaries, “Red Rock Serenade” contains no spoken narration, no talking head interviews and no historical accounts. Viewers will only hear selections from inspired classical music, including works by Bach, Brahms, Chopin and Beethoven. But the beauty of the music masterpieces complements and enhances the beauty of the images, providing a unique musical narration.

“We set out to make a film with world-class images and world-class music,” said producer John Howe. “I hope we’ve achieved that. I’m very proud of the depth and immense scale the film has.”

“Red Rock Serenade” is a “meditative journey through the breathtaking scenery of the American West’s iconic red rock country,” which includes the Arches, Bryce Canyon, Zion, Canyonlands, Capitol Reef and Grand Canyon national parks, according to a press release. Mary Dickson, KUED's director of creative services, estimated that at least 80 percent of the footage was shot in Utah.

While many viewers may have hiked through these areas, few will have experienced the breathtaking aerial views the program offers. For others, it is a wonderful introduction.

“ ‘Red Rock Serenade’ is a treasure trove of footage that has been gathered painstakingly over the last 10 years and transports viewers to secret, hard-to-reach locations, as well as to the grand vistas that define the West,” said co-producer Carol Dalrymple. “It’s meant to take the viewer on a timeless journey.”

In “Red Rock Serenade,” nature’s beauty is revealed, and viewers will receive far more than they will seek.

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