Aaron Jay Kernis’ “Too Hot Toccata”: An Exuberant Orchestral Romp

American composer Aaron Jay Kernis (b. 1960) composed Too Hot Toccata in 1996. The six minute orchestral tour de force was written as a musical farewell to the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra at the end of Kernis’ tenure as the ensemble’s composer-in-residence. It’s an exuberant and virtuosic romp in which individual instrumental voices take turns getting thrust, briefly, into the spotlight. Kernis describes the music as “a little hyperactive” with  “a horribly difficult honky-tonk …

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