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Aaron Jay Kernis

Publisher: G. Schirmer

Musica Celestis (1990)
Associated Music Publishers Inc
Sub Category
String Orchestra
Year Composed
11 Minutes
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Programme Note
Aaron Jay Kernis Musica Celestis (1990)

  • Conductor
    Hugh Wolff
    Phoenix USA:
  • Ensemble
    Seattle Symphony
    Gerard Schwarz
    Hear Music:
  • Conductor
    Hugh Wolff
  • Ensemble
    Minnesota Orchestra
    Eiji Oue
    Virgin Classics:
  • G. Schirmer / AMP:
Even more moving was Aaron Jay Kernis’ “Musica Celestis,” a kind of outer-space exploration of eerie hymnlike harmonies building to first one climax and then another before receding to deep space. Nakahara suggested a parallel with Samuel Barber’s Adagio for Strings. Kernis’ music shares a mystical quality with Barber’s together with a superb command of instrumentation. But Kernis’ projects an unmistakable individuality.
Travis Rivers, The Spokesman Review,3/22/2009
The piece is punctuated by soaring melodic strings...and bursts of striking dissonance and palpable tension.
Cathalena E. Burch, Arizona Daily Star,10/24/2008
An indelible memory was formed by Aaron Jay Kernis’ 1990 Musica Celestis. Like Barber’s ubiquitous Adagio, it began life as the slow movement of a string quartet, and was quickly arranged for full string orchestra. Its evocations of endless hymns of praise to God included whispered strings in exquisite soft harmonies, with a gradual accretion to treacherously high, keening string tessitura. A quick cutoff drops instantly back into slow, lush harmonic thoughts where gentle consecutive falling intervals coalesce to form a hauntingly spiritual and deeply satisfying conclusion.
Herman Trotter , The Buffalo News,3/16/2008
Musica Celestis stands in comparison to Barber's famous Adagio. Like the Barber piece, Kernis's work is a string-orchestra transcription of an adagio movement from a string quartet and is effectively solemn and mournful. Kernis's music is about melody, harmony, technique - and relaxation. This is a superbly engineered CD. A highly recommended CD.
It is a relief after such vehement and splenetic music to encounter Kernis’s most famous piece. This is the middle movement of his First String Quartet transcribed by the composer for full string orchestra...certainly anyone needs to see this out. This writing is gentle, yielding, supplicatory and emphatic yet never hectoring...
Rob Barnett,,1/1/0001
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