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Aaron Jay Kernis

Publisher: G. Schirmer

Perpetual Chaconne (2012)
AMP and AJK Music
Small Ensemble (2-6 players)
Year Composed
15 Minutes
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Programme Note
Aaron Jay Kernis Perpetual Chaconne (2012)
Composer note:
Perpetual Chaconne grows out of four main ideas: the falling lines in the violins that open it, the lyrical, expressive music that is introduced by the clarinet; a group of minor chords that is the harmonic grounding (the chaconne) of the whole work, and the rocking, alternating triplets that pass from instrument to instrument. Everything else in the piece varies one or more of these ideas, and maps an emotional journey from mournful lyricism to increasingly abstract, harsh gestures and back. Some of the ideas return to echo earlier appearances in the work, but most are varied and transformed all the way through to the end.
— Aaron Jay Kernis

"He’s tapped something primal in his work. But nothing like, say, Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring. Not so violent. Here, a different range from the emotional spectrum...there are over arching non-musical impressions, at least for me, of ‘struggling, healing, feeling, discovering, changing, and (mostly) continually searching...There’s much going on, and loads of dissonance and some harsh gestures as promised, but integrated, or crafted in a way to be ultra player-listener-friendly. It is immediately accessible because of, not in spite of, this craft and detailed workmanship. Kernis has taken us on a small journey that covers considerable terrain, in tribute to several before him (including Beethoven). He has made a variation of the variation form, the chaconne, and turned it in to a truly dynamic composition."
Jim McDonald, The Boston Musical Intelligencer,25/06/2013
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