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Aaron Jay Kernis

Publisher: G. Schirmer

Le Quattro Stagioni dalla Cucina Futurismo (The Four Seasons of Futurist Cuisine) (1991)
Text Writer
F.T. Marinetti (1932)
Associated Music Publishers Inc
Solo Voices and 1-6 players
Year Composed
20 Minutes
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Programme Note
Aaron Jay Kernis Le Quattro Stagioni dalla Cucina Futurismo (The Four Seasons of Futurist Cuisine) (1991)
Composer Note:
Around the time I composed Before Sleep and Dreams I was given a copy of F.T. Marinetti's The Futurist Cookbook as a birthday present. Coincidentally I was approached by Pat Gidwitz to write a celebratory work for her husband John's 50th birthday. Commissioned by John's mother Adele and sister Susan, the premiere of the resulting work, entitled Le Quattro Stagioni della Cucina Futurismo, took place on Martha's Vineyard on August 30, 1991, with John's close friends Jorja Fleezanis (violin), Andre Emelianoff (cello), and Christopher O'Riley (piano) performing and Michael Steinberg narrating.

Like Before Sleep and Dreams, my Quattro Stagioni also looks back to earlier musical styles, yet its tone is entirely different. I intended this piece to be a sort of "historical recreation" of what I imagined music written to accompany these early modernist texts might have sounded like. References to bitonality and early twentieth-century chromaticism, along with parodies of Wagner and Bruckner and sappy romantic popular song, alternately mirror and foil the text in an appropriate spirit. At the time I composed the work, I was also aware of certain other parallels that made the Marinetti texts both compelling and topical for me. A fascination with new technologies within an atmosphere of political decay and intolerance reflects our own time, and the rise of Fascism in Italy when these texts were published mirrors certain political trends on the current national and international scene. The first movement text, Manifesto, contains an excerpt from Marinetti's pathbreaking Futurist Manifesto of 1909; the remaining texts come from the Futurist Cookbook, written in second wave of Futurism in the 1930's.

— Aaron Jay Kernis

  • Ensemble
    Eberli Ensemble
    Evan Spritzer, spoken vocals and clarinet; Andrea Schultz, violin; Michael Finckel, cello; Evelyne Luest, piano
    Phoenix USA:
  • Soloist(s)
    Evelyne Luest, piano
    Phoenix USA:
"[Kernis] had the...audience in stitches with the over the top humor of his "Le Quattro Stagioni Dalla Cucina Futurismo"...The work deserves wide exposure."
William Thomas Walker, Classical Voice of North Carolina,01/11/2002
“Le quattro stagioni dalla cucina futurismo (The Four Seasons of Futurist Cuisine)” for piano trio and reader by Aaron Jay Kernis, [is] a work that is by turns hilarious and menacing. Excerpts from Filippo Marinetti's “Futurist Cookbook” of 1932 were read with — I have to say it — gusto by Macafferri. This wild, sensually evocative text recounts a series of improbable recipes and meals, paired with music that incorporates pastiche but transcends it utterly."
George Thomson, San Francisco Classical Voice,05/04/2002
"The concert ended with an amusing work by Aaron Jay Kernis for narrator and ensemble, ''La Quattro Stagioni Dalla Cucina Futurismo,'' to a babblingly absurdist 1932 text by F. T. Marinetti proposing that in the future men will think, dream and act according to what they eat. Mr. Kernis wisely keeps his vibrant music, with its mock melodrama and thinly veiled quotes from Wagner and such, in the background. Evan Spritzer, the amplified narrator, dominated, as he was meant to."
Anthony Tommasini, The New York Times,08/11/1997
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