Author: Chris Wickham
Winterspring is a snowy valley, located in northeastern Kalimdor adjacent to Mount Hyjal. The region is in a state of perpetual winter and many wild creatures roam the frosted landscape, most notably the malevolent blue dragons and the native frostsaber cats who continue to periodically fight. Roots from Hyjal's towering World Tree pierce through the ground to form grand oak archways, while most of the indigenous foliage remains twisted and contorted following the Battle of Mount Hyjal. The neutral trading post of Everlook lies to the east, established by the Steamwheedle Cartel goblins. This is often the last point of contact for those wishing to make the treacherous ascent to Hyjal Summit to the west.
Winterspring shares a wide selection of compositions with other snow-capped mountainous regions, such as the Dwarven homeland of Dun Morogh. These musical cues make up the Mountain variations composed by Jason Hayes. Hayes' use of mystical harps and expansive string arrangements not only romanticises these vast winter landscapes, but emphasises their sheer scale as well. The harmony behind these arrangements wanders between insecure harmonies and more uplifting motives, striking a delicate balance between the landscape's beauty and the inherent danger of the lurking wildlife. The upper register of the violins is particularly prominent, producing an icy timbre which fits the landscape well.
Following the cataclysm, Winterspring gained additional musical variations of the Hayes' Mountain pieces. These can be heard from 2:05. The icy string arrangements remain prevalent and now incorporate a tremolo technique, which creates a shimmering effect which can be likened to the sun’s glistening reflection off the settled snow. A high piccolo occasionally pierces through the arrangement, and its isolation from the accompaniment creates an impression of stillness and desolation. The player is continually reminded that while Winterspring heralds a gorgeous landscape, it is not without peril. The music employs unstable woodwind and harp melodies which either circulate gently or descend slowly to create a sense of foreboding. The lower registers of the woodwind sections are later introduced to compliment the prevalence of the haunting 'cello throughout the Cataclysm variations. They mimic the ominous circulating melodies of the harp while the icy strings and piccolo continue to soar over the rest of the ensemble.
The music of Winterspring is darker than one would expect from a region so beautiful. However, these wintery mountains host all manner of dangerous creatures, which the music portrays effectively through beautifully haunting orchestration.