Aaron Jay Kernis by Leta E. Miller

By Leta E. Miller

Winner of either the Pulitzer Prize and the Grawemeyer Award, Aaron Jay Kernis completed popularity as one of many prime composers of his iteration whereas nonetheless in his thirties. considering the fact that then his eloquent but available sort, emphasis on melody, and willingness to have interaction well known in addition to classical varieties has introduced him frequent acclaim and admiring audiences. Leta Miller's biography deals the 1st survey of the composer's existence and paintings. Immersed in track by means of heart college, and later education below Theodore Antoniou, John Adams, Jacob Druckman, and others, Kernis rejected the assumption of distancing his paintings from worldly matters and dared to compose on political topics. His moment Symphony , from 1991, engaged with the 1st Gulf conflict; 1993's nonetheless second with Hymn used to be a response to the Bosnian Genocide; and the subsequent year's coloured box and 1995's Lament and Prayer handled the Holocaust. but Kernis extensively utilized assets as disparate as futurist agitprop and kid's video games to...

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As table 1 shows, each movement of this work is tonally centered, although Kernis’s language does not follow traditional principles of functional harmony. The opening choral movement is based on simple expansion outward from the central C♮ as well as consistently accelerating rhythmic motion. The finale is fugal. Neither movement, notes Kernis, would have been possible without his counterpoint classes in San Francisco. The five solo movements explore various types of ostinato structures in the piano.

The cello’s vocally inspired part is primarily slow and legato, although occasionally it includes pizzicati to create timbral variety. In its opening section Lennon’s song moves from tonic to subdominant to dominant. Kernis adopted this commonplace progression but stretched it out over nearly five minutes. At the outset, the pianist repeats an E major chord, over which the cello twice articulates the notes of the triad (E–B–G♮) and then plays the rising major third that characterized Lennon’s melody (B–D♮).

At the time I was convinced that too much freedom was damaging to writing music,” he said years later. ”30 His pre-compositional processes were often mathematical, sometimes minimalist or serialized. In other cases they involved setting up texts to form a logical progression or drawing inspiration from visual stimuli to suggest a structure that would yield large-scale coherence. Whatever the controlling parameters, Kernis sought to achieve both recollection and transformation over the course of each work.

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