John Adams (born in 1947): Christian Zeal and Activity, China Gates, Phrygian Gates, Shaker Loops, Common Tones in Simple Time, Harmonium, Grand Pianola Music, Harmonielehre, Tromba Lontana, Short Ride in the Fast Machine, The Chairman Dances, Nixon in China, Fearful Symmetries, The Wound-Dresser, Eros Piano, Five Songs, Berceuse élégiaque, The Black Gondola, The Death of Klinghoffer, El Dorado, Chamber Symphony, Hoodoo Zephyr, Violon Concerto, John’s Book of Alleged Dances, I Was Looking at the Ceiling and Then I Saw the Sky, Lollapalooza, Road Movies, Gnarly Buttons, Slominsky’s Earbox, Scratchband, Century Rolls, Hallelujah Junction, Naive and Sentimental Music, El Nino, American Berserk, Guide to Strange Places, On the Transmigration of Souls, The Dharma at Big Sur, My Father Knew Charles Ives, Doctor Atomic, A Flowering Tree, Son of Chamber Symphony, First Quartet, City Noir, The Gospel According to the Other Mary, Saxophone Concerto, Absolute Jet, Roll Over Beethoven, Scheherazade 2, I Still Play, Must tea Devil Have All the Good Tunes? Various performers. 1985-2019. Booklets in English. 1 set of 40 Nonesuch CDs. 075597932294
On the occasion of John Adams’ 75th birthday, Nonesuch offers a lavish box set which is almost complete with the scores of the brilliant American composer. Admittedly, there is nothing new or unpublished in this superb box, but this box allows you to have a panoramic view of a work that is asserting itself as an immense reference of our time, particularly adored by audiences throughout the world. world.
Because John Adams, like his companions Philip Glass or Steve Reich, is a social phenomenon in the world of music of our time. Each of his creations is awaited, followed and commented on by fans and players in the musical world. Some of his scores have even become regularly scheduled hits by orchestras, including student groups; we think of Short Ride in the Fast Machine oa The Chairman Dances and some of his works are multi recorded as Harmonielehre (1985), founding orchestral piece of which there are already 7 different versions! Almost unbelievable phenomena for scholarly music of our time! This unique artistic journey of a young composer who asserts himself in the Californian sun, leader of a new generation of American composers and consecrated composer-in-residence with the Berliner Philharmoniker for the 2016-2017 season.
From this sum, it is necessary to retain structuring axes starting with a love of sound, whether in the minimal scores of his beginnings such as the bewitching Harmonium for choir and orchestra, a kind of undulating fresco or in the most recent creations like the piano concerto Must the Devil Have All the Good Tunes?, disheveled, hair-raising and frenzied course between the piano and the orchestra. Ultra virtuosity is also a hallmark of orchestral scores: the horizontal power of Harmonielehre or the straussian madness of City Black, lyic and explosive triptych, a sort of Hero life contemporary times. We can less appreciate certain orchestral scores such as Eldorado, Guide to Strange Places, Where Naive and Sentimental Music which may lack body, but the orchestral textures are superb and cut with the highest skill. Just as it is possible to find a demonstrative side to Lollapalooza for orchestra or the Piano Concerto Century Rolls, but how not to admire the instrumental power of the symphony taken from the opera Doctor Atomic. The sense of melody is also a great quality of John Adams, an equation so rare in a musician of our time, one can thus hum the simple air of the Grand Pianola Music, the baritone aria “Batter my heart” from the opera Doctor Atomic or the singing line of Tromba Lontana, brass band for orchestra. We also like the humor and the second degree that show through in smaller formats like the John’s Book of Alleged Dances for string quartet or Gnarly Buttons for clarinet and small orchestra.
History is also at the center of John Adams’ artistic approach. History through events as the subjects of operas drawn from the dramas and actions of our time: the visit of President Richard Nixon to Mao Zedong in Nixon in China, the hostage-taking of passengers from the Achille Lauro cruise ship for the opera The Death Of Klinghofferthe 1994 Los Angeles earthquake for the brief I Was Looking at the Ceiling and Then I Saw the Sky or the Nativity, a universal story for El-Nino, multilingual oratorio opera, crucible of our humanity. The dramas of our time even catch up with the composer by his On the Transmigration of Souls, in tribute to the victims of the attacks of September 11, 2001, commissioned by several institutions of the city of New York and created by the New York Philharmonic under the direction of Lorin Maazel in 2002. This score for large orchestra, mixed choir, choir of children and sounds fixed on magnetic tape won John Adams the Pulitzer Prize and several Grammy Awards. This score was even a break in the notoriety of this composer then classified as an avant-garde who became institutionalized as one of the great figures of US music.
But this passion for history is also linked to that of music, of which Adams is a fine connoisseur: Beethoven is increased tenfold and dynamited in the incredible Absolute Jest for string quartet and orchestra, Liszt or Busoni are orchestrated, Charles Ives, with the delicious pastiche My Father Knew Charles Ives for orchestra, is at the heart of this loving tribute to this pioneer of American music.
The creative genius of John Adams is based on a loyalty to artists or institutions: the conductors Edo de Waart, Kent Nagano, Esa Pekka Salonen, the violinist Leila Josefowicz, the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra, the BBC Symphony Orchestra , the Los Angeles Philharmonic who put all their artistic and technical skills at the service of the composer’s scores.
The Nonesuch label, the cornerstone of this box set, has accompanied John Adams since 1985 and the first album: Harmonielehre under the direction of Edo de Waart at the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra, but the box set also borrows some tapes from other DGG labels, San Francisco Symphony Media and Berliner Philharmoniker. Certainly it is not a complete because it lacks the penultimate opera The Girls of the Golden West (his last opera Anthony & Cleopatra just premiered at the San Francisco Opera) and the brief I Still Dance, sort of perpetual motion for orchestra, but this box is ultimately indispensable, an essential window for the art of our time.
The object is in itself a collector’s item, complete with 2 generous booklets, one devoted to artistic information and the other to the perspective of the art of John Adams.
Sound: 10 Record: 10 Repertoire: 10 Interpretation: 10
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John Adams, the work in a box