Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Aaron Jay Kernis, Hugh Wolff, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra|
Aaron Jay Kernis: Second Symphony / Musica Celestis
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Well Worth a Listen
Karl W. Nehring | Ostrander, OH USA | 07/25/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Although I believe I had heard Kernis's name mentioned before, probably on the radio, I cannot recall ever hearing any of his music before I picked this disk up purely on a whim on one of those nights that found me wandering around the classical section of the music store, wanting to buy something, but not quite knowing what to buy. (Gee, that sounds pretty sick, doesn't it... ?) The cover was hard to resist, with a human figure leaping through a fireball (but remember these words of wisdom from Bill and Ted's Bogus Journey: "Our album covers lied to us, dude!"), so I took a chance and took this CD home to see what it contained.
This disk turned out to be one of the finest CDs I had purchased in quite a while, and judging at least from this recording, Aaron Jay Kernis (b. 1960 in Philadelphia) is a composer with a promising future. The three-movement Second Symphony is a dramatic work inspired by the Gulf War. Powerful stuff, powerfully performed and recorded, this symphony is a work you can sink your teeth into and play over and over again.
After the fury of the Second Symphony, the mood changes significantly with Musica Celestis, a deeply expressive piece for string orchestra that reaches toward Heaven with sincerity and conviction. This is absolutely lovely music, very touching, very pure and heartfelt.
Kernis's ability to express himself both in the violent fury of the Second Symphony and in the serene beauty of the Musica Celestis indicates that he is certainly not a one-trick composer. Were this CD to contain only these two works, it would be highly recommendable--but there's more.
Invisible Mosaic III stands in contrast to the first two selections on this CD by being more a work of pure musical expression than of emotional expression. Playful, inventive, and colorful, its aim seems to be more to charm than to move the listener, although it will definitely move your woofers from time to time. The ending bears a striking resemblance to the ending of John Adams's Harmonielehre, a resemblance that we will hope represents an act of homage from one American composer to another.
It is really exciting to discover such a wonderful CD by a composer just starting his career. If you are at all a fan of orchestral music by composers such as Shostakovich, Mahler, or Stravinsky, then I urge you to track down this well-recorded Argo CD and audition it for yourself."
Refreshing legit music
Robert G. Francis | Tucson Arizona | 08/28/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Aaron Jay Kernis preserves the elements well thought out musical composition. That is to say in a long line of composers he tastefully utilizes aspects of creating tensions and then resolving them. However, there are moments when I found myself asking "what is this guy mad about"? Only later to feel myself at peace once again. A Torrent of musical colors pour out of the stereo all of which show a talent for Orchestration equal or even slightly more creative than that of Respigi, Barber or Stravinsky. This is not film music, thank god. It is art, created I hope for the sake of the art driven by a passion. I found it very refreshing and I have been re-visiting it weekly, as well as sharing with my colleagues. If I had more time to write music I would definitely look into studying his scores.
Robert Glenn Francis