100 Greatest Dance Hits
David Tanenbaum, guitar; The Chester Quartet; Aaron Berofsky, violin; David Harding, viola; Tom Rosenberg, cello; Christopher O'Riley, piano; Nancy Allen Lundy, soprano; John Dent, trumpet; Jeff Milarsky, glock & percussion; Benjamin Herman, glock; Leslie Stifelman, piano; Lisa Moore, piano; Kim Barber, mezzo-soprano; Kathleen Nester, flute; Larry Guy, clarinets; Anthony Cecere, horn; Mary Rowell, violin; Leslie Tomkins, viola; Tonya Tomkins, cello; Robert Black, bass; Susan Jolles, harp; Michael Barrett, conductor
... the most important young composer working in this country. Ambitious and witty, thoughtful and sensuous, alluring and provocative, his music grips both heart and mind. --San Francisco Chronicle
As the title of this album suggests, this is a compilation of the composer's lighter works. The pieces in this collection exhibit all the wit and ebullience of Classical-period divertimenti, but also the craftsmanship and earnestness associated with more serious musical essays. Even in a lighter vein, there is zeal in Kernis's compositional method, in the fastidious notation, the control over rhythm, and in the minutiae of instrumentation.
The label minimalist is so often misapplied as a mask for the vapid that it seems wrong to use the term in reference to Kernis's music. But there is an aspect of phase-shifting in Kernis's music that recollects the best exponents of that school -- from the out-of-synch pop refractions in America(n) (Day) Dreams to the aggregating ostinati in Nocturne.
Ultimately, Kernis's music rejects stylistic polemics, both the obscurantism of the Ivy Tower and the jejune blather of the New Age. The music is unconcerned with constructed historical exigencies and manifestos. Kernis listens to all he hears, and then writes his own music, full of warmth and humor -- eclectic in influence, but decidedly singular in voice.
Available here: Groove
New Albion Records, Inc.