Aura

Instrumentation:   2,2,2,2,2,2,2,1, 3 perc, strings

Duration:   18:35

Premiere
10/6/90
CUCSO (Charlottesville Symphony)
Douglas Hargrave, Conductor
Old Cabell Auditorium, University of Virginia
Charlottesville, VA

Program Note

Aura was commissioned by the Charlottesville University and Community Orchestra in 1981, with the assistance of an NEA Composer Fellowship, and premiered by the Charlottesville University and Community Orchestra, under the leadership of Douglas Hargrave. It was also performed and subsequently recorded by the Richmond Symphony, conducted by Jacques Houtmann. The title was suggested by the coloristic elements and sonic aura they create, and by the use of small, rotating pitch collections that spread through the orchestra, creating a luminous web. –JS

Press

Aura is a large-scale work of just under 20 minutes duration. The basic musical material derives from a tone-row chosen for its whole-tone characteristics. The composer says, “The surface of the piece focuses on small subgroups from the underlying row, with a resultant tonal quality; Aura also refers to traditional form in its dramatic use of transposed recurrent themes which reach a state of resolution at its close.’ The work has a distinct post-romantic quality while maintaining a tonally-flexible freedom; the use of orchestral timbres is always effective and evocative of the somewhat mystical aura surrounding blocks, or more often, clouds of sound materials. As Ms. [Shatin] has said about this work, ‘Just as every verbal utterance has its own tone of voice, its affective extension, so does every sound. It is this ineffable extra that Aura celebrates.’”
–Philip Krumm, All Music Guide