Still Movement with Hymn was composed in 1993. During the year or two preceding its creation, I composed three serious and intense works, all of which nourished and influenced the present work: Hymn for solo accordion, Aria-Lament for solo violin, and the English horn concerto Colored Field. I would call all of this music mournful, tragic, and elegiac. These pieces are also unified by the influence of medieval and Jewish music and their use of long, unbroken melodies. Much of the emotional tenor of these works stems from reaction, albeit at a distance, to the genocide in Bosnia and Croatia along with the disbelief and loss of innocence that comes from learning that the world that most of us believe we live in, one that’s rational, compassionate, and forgiving, seems so banal and fragile in light of the force of ethnic hatred and brutality. This music is in no way programmatic, but it does at times suggest a Judeo-Christian prayer for the dead, a hymn and Kaddish that also embodies hope for the living. It is dedicated to the memory of the composer Stephen Albert, who died suddenly in 1992.
Still Movement with Hymn is a single slow movement in three large sections with two themes, plus an extended coda, with the third section being a modified reprise of the first.
— Aaron Jay Kernis