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Aaron Jay Kernis - Color Wheel (2020)

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Aaron Jay Kernis - Color Wheel (2020)

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1 	Color Wheel (2001) 	22:30
	Symphony No. 4 “Chromeloden” (2018) 	(29:36)
2 	I. Out Of Silence 	11:20
3 	II. Thorn Rose | Weep Freedom (After Handel) 	12:17
4 	III. Fanfare Chromelodia 	5:50

Nashville Symphony
Giancarlo Guerrero - conductor


The two Aaron Jay Kernis works on this album were recorded at different times, three years apart, by the Nashville Symphony and its conductor, Giancarlo Guerrero, but the pairing makes an unusual amount of sense. Both works were recorded at Nashville's acoustically strong Schermerhorn Symphony Center. More important, as Kernis argues in his notes, the two pieces, although different in mood and written 18 years apart, have a great deal in common. Both are colorful pieces with structures built on contrast. Color Wheel (2001) is a kind of concerto for orchestra, with numerous instrumental solos originally intended to showcase the players of the Philadelphia Orchestra; the work was composed for the orchestra's new Verizon Hall. The three-movement Symphony No. 4 (2018) is likewise color inspired; the "Chromelodeon" subtitle refers not to some antique musical instrument but to the chromatic scale (the word itself means "colorful"), to melody, and to "-eon," one who performs. The second movement begins with a riveting chorale that is less Baroque in its implications than the rather Handelian music that follows. Kernis, as ever, is consistently lively, and he's a perfect match for Guerrero, a specialist in just this kind of accessible music, extended and flexible in tonality but not atonal. The album would make a good starting point for listeners wanting to get at the essential stuff of this composer. ---James Manheim, AllMusic Review

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