Recorded on 06/29/2007, uploaded on 03/23/2009
Musician's or Publisher's Notes
Kernis wrote Too Hot Toccata in 1996:
"I considered [it] to be a kind of farewell to my St Paul Chamber
Orchestra residency, but not as a farewell to the orchestra. This work
features just about all of the principal players and treats all of the
various orchestra sections as soloists. There is also a horribly
difficult honky-tonk piano solo, as well as a fiendish clarinet solo
and a big part for the piccolo trumpet, in addition to a lot of
virtuoso percussion writing. The music is a little hyperactive - very
high energy and quite out of control, but with a slower middle section
Bela Bartok's Concerto for Orchestra took the
idea of the solo concerto, wherein one player displays his virtuosity
in contrast to an orchestral background, and expanded it to feature
each section of the orchestra as virtuoso soloists. Witold Lutoslawski
also wrote a Concerto for Orchestra, and The Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra, by Benjamin Britten, likewise spotlights each symphonic section in soloistic passages. With Too Hot Toccata,
Kernis has added a short, vivid, fun-loving work to this distinguished
canon. A lively theme in the winds and brass opens up the toccata, then
the strings pick up the theme and dance with it. The progression is
virtually perpetual-motion, but it moves forward with a great deal of
syncopation and numerous incisive accents from the percussion. Each
section does indeed get to show off its skills. A string solo passage
introduces a calmer note, quickly succeeded by a passage in swing style
featuring keyboard. Then we return to the compulsive rhythmic patterns
on the opening, and brass and percussion add a jazzy note. By this time
the audience's feet are tapping along with each new beat. A big trumpet
riff brings Too Hot Toccata to a close.
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