Michael Gordon – Natural History

Britt Orchestra featuring Steiger Butte Drum and Singers
Michael Gordon – Natural History
Cantaloupe Music CA21138 (2018)

When Michael Gordon was approached to compose his epic, inspirational work Natural History, he had one question to answer: If Oregon’s Crater Lake National Park were a symphony, what would it sound like? Conducted by Teddy Abrams and performed by the Britt Orchestra with members of the Klamath Tribe’s percussion group Steiger Butte Drum and Singers, Natural History stands tall as a celebration of the park’s natural wonders, as well as a conduit to the spiritual history of the surrounding community.

Natural History was commissioned by the Britt Music & Arts Festival to commemorate the centennial of the National Parks Service, and was performed on August 20, 2016 at the Britt Pavilion in Jacksonville, Oregon. As Gordon describes it in the short documentary film Symphony for Nature (directed by Anne Flatté and airing on select PBS stations): “Originally it was for an orchestra of 40 musicians, which is already a lot of people, but the plans for the piece kept growing. We added a chorus, and then [Britt] put me in touch with the Klamath Tribe, so now we have this project with a lot of forces working together.”