Continue Reading Fabulous Villa-Lobos from Brazil for Exotic Instruments April 16, by David Hurwitz The more you listen to Villa-Lobos, the more it seems as though he had a giant block of characteristic music that allowed him to cut off chunks of different shapes and sizes that he called "Guitar Con Continue Reading Sweet Mystery—The Gentle Side Of Berlioz April 13, by Robert Levine Neither an opera nor an oratorio, this unique work--certainly unique to Berlioz, but also to the canon of "dramatic" choral music--is, to coin a phrase that defines little, placidly holy. If your fami He presents a six-CD chronological survey that intersperses or April 16, by David Hurwitz French composer Louise Farrenc was every bit as gifted as any of the second-tier musicians of her day. Her First Symphony reveals skilled orchestration and a confident handling of t
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With Harmonielehre, Adams definitively demonstrated that Read more Minimalist techniques, previously thought by many to be not only a passing fad, but an emotionally vacuous one at that, could be used to create music of great power and deeply felt human expression.
Think Minimalism combined with Sibelius and Wagner, with some touches of early Schoenbergian Expressionism thrown in for good measure. When Harmonielehre burst onto the scene in , it created a sensation and received numerous performances worldwide; however, unlike other works from that time that made a big initial splash, the piece has held onto a solid place within the regularly performed repertoire.
It probably goes without saying that I consider the work to be a true masterpiece in the fullest sense of the word. Harmonielehre , essentially a three-movement symphony in all but name, was commissioned and premiered by the San Francisco Symphony when Adams was its composer-in-residence.
Music director Edo de Waart and the orchestra premiered the work, both in concert and on a Nonesuch recording , made just three days after its debut performance. Others include a powerhouse performance by the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra conducted by Simon Rattle EMI and a solid though somewhat less compelling offering from the St.
There is also one by the Litauische Philharmonie conducted by Juozas Domarkas available on two separate Denon releases , which I have not heard. Comparisons between the de Waart, Rattle, and this new version from Michael Tilson Thomas are illuminating.
The de Waart and Rattle interpretations are virtually identical, but Rattle boasts superior orchestral execution and a more transparent, texturally clear recording. Further, Tilson Thomas offers the only significant interpretive difference from the previous versions.
But no one who loves this work will want to be without this resplendent new offering from Tilson Thomas and his superlative orchestra. Sonically, this live SACD is characterized by lucid, X-ray-like detailing, huge dynamic and frequency ranges, and an almost three-dimensional soundstage with plenty of ambient width and depth, though I could do without the applause at the end of the performance.
An indispensible disc and a Want List shoo-in.
He served as musical producer for a number of series for the Public Broadcasting System , including the award-winning series, The Adams Chronicles in and After Nixon in China[ edit ] This section is in list format, but may read better as prose. You can help by converting this section , if appropriate. Editing help is available. The piece is scored for baritone voice, two flutes or two piccolos , two oboes, clarinet, bass clarinet, two bassoons, two horns, trumpet or piccolo tpt , timpani, synthesizer, and strings. The main characters are seven young Americans from different social and ethnic backgrounds, all living in Los Angeles.
Adams: Harmonielehre; The Chairman Dances; Two Fanfares
Symphony guide: John Adams's Harmonielehre
Adams: Harmonielehre & Short Ride in a Fast Machine