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Aaron Jay Kernis$
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Leta E. Miller

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780252038532

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: April 2017

DOI: 10.5406/illinois/9780252038532.001.0001

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War, with Interludes (1991–1995)

War, with Interludes (1991–1995)

(p.71) 5 War, with Interludes (1991–1995)
Aaron Jay Kernis

Leta E. Miller

University of Illinois Press

This chapter examines Kernis's music in the years 1991–1995, a period marked by a proliferation of dark, brooding works responding to world conflicts. These works include the Second Symphony (1991), a reaction to the first Gulf War; Still Movement with Hymn (1993), provoked by the war in Bosnia; Colored Field (1994), inspired by his 1989 visit to Auschwitz and Birkenau; and Lament and Prayer (1995), a memorial to the Holocaust. Was it the self-confidence brought on by increasing fame that in some sense empowered Kernis to take on these greater-than-life themes or to imagine that in some way he could, by his art, effect a change in the world around him? Such a viewpoint in no way indicates a misplaced self-importance. Rather, it is essential to the very art of composition, to the communicative goal that most composers pursue: the reaching out, through personal self-expression, to move and commune with listeners, and ultimately inspire a transformation in them.

Keywords:   world conflicts, Gulf War, Bosnian war, Holocaust, composition, Colored Field, Lament and Prayer

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