AARON JAY KERNIS (b.1960): Three Flavors for Piano and Orchestra, Two Movements (with Bells) for Violin and Orchestra, Ballad(e) out of the Blue(s) - Superstar Etude No. 3 for Orchestra.
Catalogue Number: 04Q085
Description: Three Flavors is a conventionally structured three-movement piano concerto, originally written for Margaret Leng Tan and her amplified toy piano, entirely successfully adapted by the composer for conventional forces. Some elements of its origins are apparent in the percussive nature of some of the piano writing and the almost concertante role of metallic percussion in the fast sections. The first movement is motoric, with jazz and gamelan influence; the second full-bloodedly Romantic; the third high-energy, jazzy and somewhat Gershwinesque with an impressive climax and an extended cadenza. The Two Movements were written in memory of the composer's father, a jazz enthusiast, and their virtuosic, highly emotional violin writing, in a tonal idiom more chromatic than the concerto, is inflected by touching blues harmonies throughout. The Etude pays tribute to several great jazz pianist-composers, most obviously Gershwin, in an exuberantly ornamented style that suggests the spontaneity of jazz improvisation. Andrew Russo (piano), James Ehnes (violin), Albany Symphony Orchestra; David Alan Miller.