Robert Erickson: Recent Impressions; Two Songs; High Flyer; Summer Music

Robert Erickson: Recent Impressions; Two Songs; High Flyer; Summer Music

by Continuum
     
 

American composer Robert Erickson (1917-1997) came out of the Midwest, but made California home for most of his professional career, and it was there that he established himself as one of the earliest and most influential proponents of the American avant-garde. This disc collects a variety of his works from the '60s through the '80s. The latest piece, "Recent… See more details below

Overview

American composer Robert Erickson (1917-1997) came out of the Midwest, but made California home for most of his professional career, and it was there that he established himself as one of the earliest and most influential proponents of the American avant-garde. This disc collects a variety of his works from the '60s through the '80s. The latest piece, "Recent Impressions" (1987), is remarkable for Erickson's ability to make a piece that is entirely tonal, with some pentatonic elements, sound like adventurous new music. He achieves this primarily by making the timbral shifts the focus of the listener's attention, rather than the harmony. Chamber ensemble Continuum plays it with clarity, focus, and attention to its mood of elegiac wistfulness. "Two Songs," written the year before to his own texts for mezzo-soprano, clarinet, viola, and piano, are surprisingly lyrical coming from a composer with such a daunting reputation for modernism. The songs have supple, grateful vocal writing that shows off the voice to its best advantage in the best bel canto tradition. Ellen Lang sings with beautifully open tone, and she and members of Continuum emphasize the work's colorful tone painting. Erickson's reputation as an experimentalist is more evident in "High Flyer" (1969) for flute, in which the soloist produces a variety of subtle timbral shadings by speaking into the mouthpiece. "Summer Music" (1974), for violin and tape, primarily uses water sounds for the tape part, with which the violin's largely lyrical line evocatively intertwines. The selection of pieces and the uniformly fine performances make the CD an appealing introduction to Erickson's work. Naxos' sound quality is clear and present.

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Product Details

Release Date:
05/29/2007
Label:
Naxos American
UPC:
0636943928325
catalogNumber:
8559283
Rank:
319441

Tracks

  1. Recent Impressions, for piano & chamber orchestra  - Robert Erickson  -  Continuum  - Joel Sachs  - Cheryl Seltzer  - Cheryl Seltzer  - Nan Melville
  2. Songs (2), for mezzo-soprano, clarinet, viola & piano  - Robert Erickson  - Robert Erickson  -  Continuum  - Joel Sachs  - Cheryl Seltzer  - Nan Melville  - Ellen Lang
  3. High Flyer, for solo flute  - Robert Erickson  - Jayn Rosenfeld  - Joel Sachs  - Cheryl Seltzer  - Nan Melville
  4. Summer Music, for violin & tape  - Robert Erickson  - Joel Sachs  - Cheryl Seltzer  - Mia Wu  - Nan Melville

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Album Credits

Performance Credits

Continuum   Primary Artist

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