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Aaron Jay Kernis

Publisher: G. Schirmer

Perpetual Chaconne (2012)
AJK Music
Works for 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

  • 11 JUN 2018
    Chelsea Music Festival
    St. Peter's Episcopal Church, New York, NY
  • 22 JAN 2017
    Seattle, WA
    Seattle Chamber Music Society
    Sean Osborn, Amy Schwartz Moretti, Alexander Kerr, Richard O'Neill, Yegor Dyachkov
  • 18 APR 2013
    Perpetual Chaconne New York Premiere
    Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center
    Kaplan Penthouse, Lincoln Center, New York, NY
    Orion String Quartet
    David Shifrin, clarinet
  • 13 AUG 2012
    Santa Fe, NM
    Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival
    David Schiffrin, clarinet; and the Orion String Quartet
  • 16 JUL 2012
    Perpetual Chaconne World Premiere
    Portland, OR
    Chamber Music Northwest
    David Schiffrin, clarinet; and the Orion String Quartet

    Other Dates:
    17 July - Portland, OR

"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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