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Aaron Jay Kernis

Publisher: G. Schirmer

Toy Piano Concerto (chamber version) (2002)
Chamber Version Commissioned by WNYC Radio. Orchestra Version co-commissioned by the Singapore Symphony Orchestra for its inaugural season at its new performing home at Esplanade - Theatres on the Bay, and the Minnesota Orchestra on the occasion of the Orchestra's Centennial.
Publisher
AJK Music
Category
Soloists and Large Ensemble (7+ players)
Year Composed
2002
Duration
28 Minutes
Solo Instrument(s)
Amplifed toy piano doubling grand piano
Programme Note
Aaron Jay Kernis Toy Piano Concerto (chamber version) (2002)

Performances
Reviews
“this concerto has legs, and James Ehnes’ playing is a marvel. The third movement cadenza, with its left-hand pizzicato runs, inspired little gasps of astonishment from the audience. The concerto itself is one I’d happily hear again…it is a piece that doesn’t take itself too seriously even as it works within a dauntingly complex musical language. Kernis’ own notes about the piece observe that it has a wide-ranging set of musical influences: the first movement, Chaconne, is influenced by the Baroque dance form, while the second, Ballad, takes its cues simultaneously from jazz and the complex harmonies of French composer Olivier Messiaen. The third movement, the most technically daunting of the lot, is called Toccatini, inspired both by the Baroque toccata and by the idea of a fun new martini, and includes over-the-top percussion effects such as a train whistle. This eclecticism, combined with James Ehnes’ virtuosity, results in eminently listenable “new music”—just what we need.”
J Robin Coffelt, Theatre Jones,09/04/2017
“…brash ebullience…in-your-face, can-do confidence in the last, fun movement. The audience loved it. The orchestra applauded as enthusiastically as the concertgoers. Ehnes performed it superbly.”
Philippa Kiraly, The SunBreak,18/03/2017
KILLER NEW VIOLIN CONCERTO: “one of today’s finest composers…Talk about making a great first impression! A concerto built to last – [he] thought through the concerto idea and created something substantial and fresh without relying on esoteric novelties [and] animates all of these conventional elements with a marvelously contemporary spirit. The first two movements have deep emotional resonance, the finale is so infectiously zippy (and outrageously hard to play) it leaves you with a buzz…a rich, compelling harmonic language and flow of ideas…a many-colored, joyful composition that has something compelling to say, and that resonates afterward.”
Thomas May, Mimetera Blog,17/03/2017
“the concerto demonstrated Kernis’ command of the complete orchestral palette, from cataclysmic brass passages to otherworldly solo harmonics over hushed strings. He made imaginative and inventive use of percussion, harp, and tuba. And in the wildly eclectic third movement, Kernis pushed the soloist toward the frontiers of technique, with double-stop runs and a final cadenza so scarily difficult that audience members were gasping in disbelief.”
Melinda Bargreen, Seattle Times,17/03/2017
"An impressive showcase for the violin as well as orchestra...it deserves to be heard again."
John Terauds, Musical Toronto,09/03/2017
“Kernis fills me with optimism, hearing a piece that sounds so fresh, full of new sounds & ideas. The orchestral sound could be big and dissonant, or softly reflective, mellow but still very new sounding in its invocation of quasi-jazzy sonorities. a few minutes before the end, I watched Ehnes play a cadenza, creating sounds I’ve never heard from a violin before, as much a treat to hear, as to watch. I must hear it again!”
Leslie Barcza, barczablog,09/03/2017
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