Aaron Jay Kernis’ “Air”: A Love Letter to the Violin

In his program notes, American composer Aaron Jay Kernis (b. 1960) describes Air as “a love letter to the violin.” Written in 1995 for Joshua Bell, the piece is dedicated to Kernis’ wife, the pianist Evelyne Luest. It unfolds with a direct, songlike lyricism which warmly embraces tonality. Occasionally, there are echoes of the music of Aaron Copland, Samuel Barber, and perhaps even late Mahler. The opening bars pull us into a lush, pastoral soundscape. …

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