|||Crossing the Meridian

Crossing the Meridian

Tenor, flute (doubling alto flute), clarinet (doubling bass clarinet), percussion (one player), violin, viola, cello, piano

Commissioned by Boston Musica Viva. Text by Ruth Whitman, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Hart Crane, William Carlos Williams, and James Dickey.

Crossing the Meridian CD cover Crossing the Meridian is the title work on the CD Crossing the Meridian, which offers a collection of Ronald Perera’s works for chamber music with voice. It includes Crossing the Meridian, Three Poems of Günter Grass, Visions and Alternate Routes. Performed by the Boston Musica Viva. Soloists include Elsa Charlston, John Aler, Jane Bryden, and Karen Smith Emerson. On CRI.

Available on:


  1. I. July 18, 1846, Crossing the Great Divide
  2. II. That Sensual Phosphorescence
  3. III. Meticulous, Past Midnight
  4. IV. Danse Russe
  5. V. Math
Composed: 1982
Duration: 20:00
Publisher: E. C. Schirmer Music Company
Catalog Number(s): Piano/Vocal Score, 4097
Full score and parts available for rental.


Perera’s texts come from Ruth Whitman, Hart Crane, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, William Carlos Williams and James Dickey. They differ widely in tone and in method, but all concern themselves with in-between moments in which time is momentarily suspended, and the self is alone. The music, as the composer said in some prefatory remarks, is tonal, triadic, and transparent; like the poems, it concerns itself with limits, and transcending them. There is something cold about it, in an attractive sense — there is no self-indulgent swooning here.

Boston Globe

The first of a sequence of four concerts in St. John’s Smith Square contained no less than three British premieres, of which the most striking was Ronald Perera’s song-cycle Crossing the Meridian. Its debt to Britten is clear enough, but Perera’s music is sensitive to atmosphere and technically most expert and economical.

The Sunday Telegraph (London) 11/9/86

Crossing the Meridian


Score Sample:

View Score

Audio Excerpt:

Movement 1 Excerpt