Dana Mengel’s music
Dana Mengel has over 1,000 sacred sacred choral pieces published nationally and internationally from 1990 to 2010.
In recent years, he has turned his efforts to composing for his first love - the strings.
Many of these new pieces were developed “prairie dances” which he developed with his brother Leslie. Some of the dances were based on the paintings of American artist George Caleb Bingham.
That effort resulted in the album “Inspired by Bingham” and his compositions being included in the Emmy-award winning documentary “The American Artist: The Life and Times of George Caleb Bingham.”
Subsequently, Mengel embarked on a lengthy composition for strings and percussion - The Oregon Trail Suite. The 21-movement suite is yet unperformed but selections have been featured in public performances and one movement aired on National Public Radio in Honolulu.
Other string compositions have yet to be performed but are available to listen on this website.
The music is very personal, deeply felt and affected by place, time, history and personal relationship. One original piece is a tribute to a daughter Gloria who died of childhood cancer (age 16) in 2014. She was a dancer which the piece clearly captures.
The Oregon Trail Suite: An Unperformed Symphony Project
Mengel has composed a 21-movement Oregon Trail Suite. This video is the first public performance of seven selections from the suite.
The pieces were selected to demonstrate the musical variety and richness of the full composition which is written for a full orchestra of 28 string players (16 violins, 8 violas and four basses) plus percussionists.
The musical selections follow pioneers westward from Independence, across the plans to Oregon. The pieces musically share the arduous experience of traveling 2,000 miles over the great expanse of the continent — an extraordinary overland migration that began in 1843.