ROBERT ERICKSON: Music of...(CRI, 170 W. 74th St., NYC 10023) Erickson is an unsung composer and the teacher of many, including Morton Subotnick, Pauline Oliveros, Loren Rush. That this music has been so long neglected is truly a shame. On this recording we have three fine examples of his subtle, quiescent style.
That Erickson is taken with drones and long held tones is abundantly clear in each work. "pacific Sirens" is a tone poem for a small instrumental ensemble that is to evoke sounds of the Californian coastal waters. To this end, the composer has used the sound of the surf electronically filtered to accompany the performers who, through improvisation, are to create counterpoints to the taped sounds, as well as to match them at different points throughout the work.
Particularly beautiful is the way in which the sound of the wind is emulated and also the surging, waxing and waning of the ocean swells as it finds its way into the music. The effect is not unlike that of a work by Morton Fledman, though Feldman would probably eschew any kind of programmatic content in his work.
"Night Music" is not a Bartokian imitation of night with the chirping of insects, the rustling of leaves, and twitterings of nocturnal creatures, but an evocation of a mood that is subtle and quiet, yet not merely pictorial. The work features a solo trumpet in a kind of concerto-like setting. Other instruments are featured as well, such as a clarinet passage that deftly uses bent notes and variant fingerings for the same pitch, resulting in fine shades of varying tone colors. -Dean Suzuki
Typed by Cheryl Vega 6-12-95