Producer: Dan Merceruio                  Engineer: Daniel Shores
The Jasper String Quartet: J. Freivogel, violin    Sae Chonabayashi, violin                                     Sam Quintal, viola    Rachel Henderson Freivogel, cello

Aaron Jay Kernis – String Quartet #3 (“River”) (2015)
1. Source
2. Flow/Surge
3. Mirrored Surface – Flux – Reflections
4. Cavatina
5. Mouth/Estuary

“This new quartet looks at change, flow and flux of musical materials and information rather than the constancy of harmony, rhythmic and formal structures that my earlier quartets embrace.” Aaron Jay Kernis

Claude Debussy – String Quartet in G minor, Op. 10 (1893)
1. Animé et très décidé
2. Assez vif et bien rythmé
3. Andantino, doucement expressif
4. Très modéré – En animant peu à peu – Très mouvementé et avec passion

Any sounds in any combination and in any succession are henceforth free to be used in a musical continuity.” – Claude Debussy

Written one hundred and twenty-two years apart, Aaron Jay Kernis’ “The River” (String Quartet #3 ) and Claude Debussy’s G Minor quartet – his only one – bear similarities of intent.

Debussy at age 31 was determined to break free from the fetters imposed on him by critics and Academia, and then win the interest a new audience for a new kind of music: sensual, free-flowing, unstructured, passionate, shunning preconceptions, and subject only to the creative impulses of the composer. He succeeded albeit not without a share of critical slights and the indifference of an older audience weaned on Gounod, Massenet and Saint-Saëns.

Like Debussy, Aaron Jay Kernis is also an iconoclast who, oblivious to expectations and shunning labels, writes music sui generis, with no seeming preconceived structure but with a visceral response to literary influences that have made an emotional and intellectual impact on him. This is music that much like the river of its title flows  unceasingly, but with varying currents, now restless, now peaceful to a tranquil musical estuary at the end of the duration of the work.

Kernis has written a challenging work that gives J. Freivogel, violin, Sae Chonabayashi, violin, Sam Quintal, viola, and Rachel Henderson Freivogel, cello, collectively known as the Jasper Quartet, a musical and technical workout.

The heavy lifting does not easy up with Debussy’s 18-minute composition but continues right up to its final movement with all four players extracting every bit of emotion in music marked by its composer to be played  “increasingly faster and with passion.”

Rafael de Acha