Aaron Jay Kernis, who last year won a Pulitzer for his string quartet, exemplifies postmodernism at its craftiest–he’s a parodist who grasps the consequences of his referential games. His music is meticulously fashioned, and its eclecticism shows off his erudition. And he knows when to be provocative and when to be playful, even while keeping an eye on the topical. He wrote a symphony depicting the tumult of the gulf war, he has paid homage to Gertrude Stein and Italian Renaissance architecture, he has appropriated salsa beats, and Disney has commissioned a choral symphony from him to usher in the new century. The text for Kernis’s The Four Seasons of Futurist Cuisine is taken mostly from The Futurist Cookbook, a clever disguise of a treatise on antibourgeois, protechnology aesthetics by Italian futurist F.T. Marinetti. Its music, scored for piano trio and narrator, deliberately suggests styles that go back as far as Vivaldi; early Schoenberg chromaticism predominates, but quotes from Wagner and Bruckner abound. This witty, sardonic commentary on food worship will be given its Chicago premiere by actor Andre De Shields and the Peabody Trio, whose performances are invariably lively, nuanced, and inquisitive. Also on the program are Schumann’s Fantasiestucke in A Minor and Beethoven’s landmark E-flat Major Trio. Friday, 8 PM, Mandel Hall, University of Chicago, 1131 E. 57th; 773-702-8068. TED SHEN
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo by Kingmond Young.