Kevin Puts is an American composer who has burst onto the music scene in recent years. After winning the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for his opera Silent Night, Puts has been on the fast track to a promising musical career. He has been the composer in residence at many prestigious symphonies and has written for many famous ensembles. Kevin Puts’ musical style is said to be very distinctive and having a richly colored musical sound. In 2005 he wrote a chamber music piece, a string quartet, called Credo and it is currently still today played around the U.S and aboard.
Credo is a string quartet that was commissioned for the Miro Quartet, which, as previously stated, continues to perform the work still today. Credo is a very modern, contemporary piece, which uses traits found in the post-modern musical era. At the very beginning of the piece, all the strings either use harmonics or the pizzicato technique to create a feeling that sort of sound “dream-like.” These techniques (harmonics and pizzicato) are solid traits of the modern and post-modern musical era as many composers of both these time periods have used these techniques. The different movements of the piece blend in together – there is not a pause or anything between movements. The movements have different names like “Learning to Dance” and “The Violin Guru of Katonah.” Credo is intended to be a “reflection” of the optimistic side of the United States of America. The piece goes between minor and major modes and has definite tonal centers and cadences.
Comparing Credo to another piece of this time, Eric Whitacre’s Alleluia one can hear many differences. First, Credo is a string quartet while Whitacre’s Alleluia is written for choir. Alleluia stays in a constant tonal center and just like Credo goes between major and minor modes. Alleluia repeats the same word over and over “Alleluia” but changes in rhythm and modes. Credo does not repeat themes throughout the piece like Alleluia, but sometimes it repeats themes within movements.
I really liked Kevin Puts’ music! I listened to Credo along with some his Pulitzer Prize winner composition Silent Night. To me, his music is not “weird” like some post-modern music- it makes sense musically and is nice to listen to. I really enjoyed getting to know this composer and will definitely listen to more of his compositions.
“Kevin Puts: Composer.” Official Website of Kevin Puts. Accessed May 2, 2014. www.kevinputs.com
“Kevin Puts (Credo – String Quartet).” Youtube Video. Posted by “Mosaic Classics.” Uploaded December 7, 2013. Accessed May 2, 2014. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lPszQc2c4nk
“Eric Whitacre- Alleluia.” Youtube Video. Posted by “Mike Ring.” Uploaded July 12, 2012. Accessed May 2, 2014. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rak_rJLG49k