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
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