Review: NEC Philharmonia premieres Kernis’s Symphony No. 4

Posted on: April 23, 2018

“Year after year Hugh Wolff recruits and nurtures fine contingents for New England Conservatory’s orchestras,” writes Lee Eiseman in Thursday’s (4/19) Boston Musical Intelligencer. The NEC Philharmonia’s concert at Symphony Hall on April 18 “opened with the world premiere of a co-commission … celebrating New England Conservatory’s 150th anniversary…. Aaron Jay Kernis delivered a massive, honest-to-goodness symphony…. Chromelodeon, his Number 4, made a tremendous impression. The composer did not stint in any way, not in size of orchestra, complexity of meaning, or generosity of expression. ‘Out of Silence’ [the first movement] opens as tuned percussions evoke a musical dawn of creation. The viola choir mournfully searches, the winds ponder before a martial tutti erupts.… As ‘Thorn Rose | Weep Freedom’ begins, potent footfalls menace. Then a string quartet intones the movement’s subject, a Handellian aria…. The short last movement, ‘Fanfare Chromelodia,’ carries whiffs of an academic festival. New melodies emerge as other pass; themes give quarter and surrender; jazzy attitudes grow complex…. The composer’s comfort in the term ‘symphony’ is justified by his large and confident addition to the genre.” Chromelodeon is a co-commission with Bellingham Festival of Music (to be performed July 2018) and the Nashville Symphony (Feb. 2019).

Posted April 23, 2018