Boston Modern Orchestra Project, Rafael Popper-Keizer, cello; Gil Rose conductor
"I think of my music as simple; easy for listeners though not so easy for the performers. Auroras is expressive music—music of feeling. For me its meanings are non-verbal and non-visual—musical. Nevertheless, they are as precise, definite and rich in detail as visual and verbal meanings, and for me deeper too, close to ultimate things." —Robert Erickson
Born in Michigan but for most of his life a true Californian, Robert Erickson (1917-1997) had a reputation as a maverick. His musical path was never a straight line, nor, really, a line at all but a landscape, with ranges of features rather than mere points of interest. Composing was the central activity of his life. He was a profound and original musical thinker who embraced the expressive possibilities of all music, from the Western classics and moderns of his own early education to Indian and Balinese traditions and all manner of contemporary experimentation, as long as it served a musical purpose.
When encountering his work, one doesn't need to know more than one hears: What's important are the sounds one encounters and the expressive journey they suggest for each listener. These four works－Night Music (1978), Fantasy for Cello and Orchestra (1954), East of the Beach (1980), Auroras (1982, rev. 1985)－all (except Night Music) world-premiere recordings, represent the best of his orchestral output, including the one considered its apex, Auroras.