Auburn is an early work in which Van der Aa tried to feature the guitar’s intimate character as well as its rougher side. The title ‘Auburn’ (reddish brown) stands for the extreme and the traditional aspects of the instrument respectively. The contrast is excellently realized, partly with the help of the electronic component, which again derives its sounds from the instrument itself. The work has a rhapsodic beginning, with broken chords and ostinato patterns. Here as before Van der Aa shows his skill in building a fascinating discourse from the simplest material. Almost unnoticed the sound track creeps in. Its long-drawn strips of sound strips gain
prominence, until after five minutes a spectacular lurch brings change. Next comes a motoric section in which the guitarist works like a percussion player to keep up with the relentless pace of the electronic rhythm box. In the epilogue the guitar resumes its sweet, melodious role, but the electronic backdrop – a synthetic mixture of bowed strings, adds a touch of the surreal.
Auburn is written for amplified, classical guitar. It is however possible to perform the piece on a electric or semi-accoustic guitar as well.