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Adams: Harmonium/Klinghoffer Choruses
John [Composer] Adams, John Adams, San Francisco Symphony Orchestra
Adams: Harmonium/Klinghoffer Choruses
Genres: Dance & Electronic, Classical
 
  •  Track Listings (10) - Disc #1

If anything, this disc conveys John Adams's ability to make the difficult sound simple and easy. It also extends Nonesuch's tendency to issue rerecordings that appear first in box sets. Harmonium came out in 1984 on an ECM...  more »

      
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Amazon.com
If anything, this disc conveys John Adams's ability to make the difficult sound simple and easy. It also extends Nonesuch's tendency to issue rerecordings that appear first in box sets. Harmonium came out in 1984 on an ECM disc, played by the same ensemble but under the direction of Edo de Waart, with whom Adams developed a fruitful working relationship in the late 1970s. The Klinghoffer Choruses simply excerpts the Nonesuch recording of the opera. Both can be found in the John Adams Earbox, the sort of collection that the label has already lavished on Steve Reich. What makes this disc sound simple is the composer's tasteful West Coast minimalism--its listener-friendly impatience with unvarying repetition; spare, keyboards-enhanced instrumentation; and generally mellow sound. Harmonium remains Adams's breakthrough work, his first big statement of consonant harmony. He became famous with it. What Adams makes apparently easy is the bringing together--the harmonizing, if you will--of disparate parts: very personal lyric poetry by two very different writers, John Donne and Emily Dickinson, sung by a choral group rather than soloists. And it works. Like the Nonesuch recording of Philip Glass's Einstein on the Beach, the new Harmonium has been lovingly performed, but necessarily lacks something of the brazenness, the unexpected quality of the earlier one, the sense of having to prove itself. The choruses from the "CNN opera" The Death of Klinghoffer (certainly a tough subject) slow down stage action significantly; they're more effective on their own. Highly chromatic, delicate, and melancholy, these two works showcase Adams's thoughtful side, and remain unabashedly beautiful. --Robert Burns Neveldine

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CD Reviews

Thought this would never happen!
Grady Harp | Los Angeles, CA United States | 06/26/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)

"For some years now one of my favorite "New Works" recorded has been the "Harmonium" of John Adams as recorded also by the San Francisco Symphony but under the baton of Edo de Waart. Time, and the increasing stature of the quality of playing of this orchestra under Tilson Thomas' nurturing, give Adams as conductor of his own work a spaciously beautiful contemplation on the words of Emily Dickinson and John Donne. The chorus is eminently worthy of plaudits for tone and diction. And to add Kent Nagano's travels with Klinghoffer.....all this makes for a disc well worth the wait. Extraordinary!"
Glorious Music
Tom From NY | New York, NY United States | 06/25/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)

"What a treat, to listen to John Adams' first masterwork in a new recording, conducted by Adams himself. The San Francisco Symphony play as beautifully as ever, and the choral performance is excellent. The sound is clear, and the album is perfectly produced, with very informative liner notes. The Choruses from Klinghoffer are expertly performed, as well, but seem rather like filler, as if they were thrown on the album so as to create a CD Adams' choral music. Couldn't something else have been used instead, like Century Rolls, or Naive And Sentimental Music, two Adams works yet to hit CD?Minor quibbles aside, this is a splendid CD, and a worthy addition to anyone's music library."