Eric, Rising (2012)

for orchestra + oboe d’amore solo
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Eric, Rising (2012) examines Walter Benjamin’s dialectical imagery in music. Often in the world of Benjamin Cartesian coordinates are used to display intersecting conceptual fields. The intersecting forces here are Ligeti and Penderecki on one axis with Eric Dolphy and Thelonious Monk on another, brought together into a dialectical field. Juxtapositions such as these play out as a series of intersecting musical gestures.

Alex Ross wrote that Ligeti enjoyed Eric Dolphy solos, and we also know that Ligeti was a fan of Thelonious Monk. (In a rehearsal of Clocks and Clouds, I once heard Maestro David Robertson tell the story of how Michael Daugherty was invited into Ligeti’s Vienna home for study only when it was discovered that they were both mutual fans of Monk.) In the forward-thinking music of the 1960s that transcended genres such as jazz or classical, there is already an obvious confluence between Monk and Dolphy. I also feel a confluence between Ligeti and Penderecki for their mutual employment of sound masses and use of electronic processes in their acoustic music, while at the same time remaining entirely individualistic in their approach to electronics.

Within the framework of this piece we hear Monkish gestures as well as pitch material from a 12-tone row made from each note’s ordered occurrence in a Dolphy melody.

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