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Century Rolls

  • 79607

News & Reviews

  • John Adams has joined the faculty of the Royal Academy of Music in London as a Visiting Professor. In 2012, Adams conducted concerts at Lincoln Center and the BBC Proms in which Academy students performed alongside Juilliard School players; in 2015, the Academy gave him an Honorary Doctorate. As part of his new role, he returns to the Academy in 2017 to work with opera students, instrumentalists, and composers. "I'm proud and delighted to spend time with the very talented students of the Royal Academy of Music," he says. "I'll be able to spend time with the young composers, singers and instrumentalists in a relationship that is as fruitful for me as it hopefully will be for the students."

  • Celebrations of John Adams's 70th birthday, which began in fall 2016, continue through 2017 with major festivities taking place in the composer's native California, organized around his birthday on February 15, and throughout the winter and spring in New York, Chicago, London, Berlin, Amsterdam, and more.

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  • About This Album

    Century Rolls, commissioned by the Cleveland Orchestra at Emanuel Ax’s request, is John Adams’s first piano concerto, completed in 1996 and premiered in London in 1998. He found inspiration for this piece listening late one night to 1920s piano roll music. Adams was struck by the way the rolls made their mark on the musical content—altering its essence in a way that tape-recording didn’t do—as well as that bright, mechanically rhythmic edginess that the process imparted to the notes. The 30-minute piece, heard here in its first recording by Ax and the Cleveland Orchestra, is a work in which orchestra and soloist become a bustling rhythmic machine that demands nothing short of sheer athletic prowess from all its musicians. With a headlong energy broken only in the second movement by a slow gymnopédie in 3/4 time (“Manny’s Gym”), Century Rolls is a wild ride for performer and audience alike.

    Rounding out the disc are two recent recordings first released as part of The John Adams Earbox, a 10-CD compendium of the composer’s recorded output issued by Nonesuch in 1999. Lollapalooza was written as a 40th birthday present for conductor Simon Rattle, a friend and advocate of the composer. The internal rhythm of the word itself is spelled out in the motivic horn writing and is meant to be as oversized, outlandish, and unrefined as the word suggests. Slonimsky’s Earbox is a tribute to the legendary Russian musicologist and wit Nicolas Slonimsky—its scales and modes a memorial to his hyper-energetic personality.

     

    Credits

    MUSICIANS
    Emanuel Ax, piano (1-3)
    The Cleveland Orchestra, conducted by Christoph von Dohnányi (1-3)
    The Hallé Orchestra, conducted by Kent Nagano (4, 5)

    PRODUCTION CREDITS
    Produced by Wilhelm Hellweg

    Century Rolls:
    Recorded October 4, 1999, at the Masonic Auditorium, Cleveland
    Balance Engineer: Everett Porter
    Recording Engineer: Tom Knab
    Edited by Thijs Hoekstra, Polyhymnia International, Baarn, Netherlands
    Mixed by Everett Porter, Polyhymnia International

    Lollapalooza, Slonimsky’s Earbox:
    Recorded July 1997 at Royal Centre, Nottingham, England
    Engineered by Kees de Visser
    Edited and mixed by Kees de Visser, Galaxy Studios, Mol, Belgium

    Mastered by Robert C. Ludwig at Gateway Mastering Studios, Portland, ME

    All music composed by John Adams

    Design by John Gall
    Cover photograph: Coney Island (1940) by Weegee/ICP/Liaison Agency

    Executive Producer: Robert Hurwitz

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nonesuch's picture
on May 29, 2008 - 7:14pm
Artist Name: 
John Adams
genre: 
Release Date: 
Tuesday, January 2, 2001 - 05:00
DescriptionExcerpt: 

The mechanized sound of 1920s piano rolls inspired this concerto, performed by the Cleveland Orchestra and soloist Emanuel Ax, who, says the New York Times, “play it with vitality and excitement.” Included are the lighthearted Lollapalooza and Slonimsky’s Earbox.

Description: 

Century Rolls, commissioned by the Cleveland Orchestra at Emanuel Ax’s request, is John Adams’s first piano concerto, completed in 1996 and premiered in London in 1998. He found inspiration for this piece listening late one night to 1920s piano roll music. Adams was struck by the way the rolls made their mark on the musical content—altering its essence in a way that tape-recording didn’t do—as well as that bright, mechanically rhythmic edginess that the process imparted to the notes. The 30-minute piece, heard here in its first recording by Ax and the Cleveland Orchestra, is a work in which orchestra and soloist become a bustling rhythmic machine that demands nothing short of sheer athletic prowess from all its musicians. With a headlong energy broken only in the second movement by a slow gymnopédie in 3/4 time (“Manny’s Gym”), Century Rolls is a wild ride for performer and audience alike.

Rounding out the disc are two recent recordings first released as part of The John Adams Earbox, a 10-CD compendium of the composer’s recorded output issued by Nonesuch in 1999. Lollapalooza was written as a 40th birthday present for conductor Simon Rattle, a friend and advocate of the composer. The internal rhythm of the word itself is spelled out in the motivic horn writing and is meant to be as oversized, outlandish, and unrefined as the word suggests. Slonimsky’s Earbox is a tribute to the legendary Russian musicologist and wit Nicolas Slonimsky—its scales and modes a memorial to his hyper-energetic personality.

 

ProductionCredits: 

PRODUCTION CREDITS
Produced by Wilhelm Hellweg

Century Rolls:
Recorded October 4, 1999, at the Masonic Auditorium, Cleveland
Balance Engineer: Everett Porter
Recording Engineer: Tom Knab
Edited by Thijs Hoekstra, Polyhymnia International, Baarn, Netherlands
Mixed by Everett Porter, Polyhymnia International

Lollapalooza, Slonimsky’s Earbox:
Recorded July 1997 at Royal Centre, Nottingham, England
Engineered by Kees de Visser
Edited and mixed by Kees de Visser, Galaxy Studios, Mol, Belgium

Mastered by Robert C. Ludwig at Gateway Mastering Studios, Portland, ME

All music composed by John Adams

Design by John Gall
Cover photograph: Coney Island (1940) by Weegee/ICP/Liaison Agency

Executive Producer: Robert Hurwitz

Cover Art: 
Nonesuch Selection Number: 

79607

Number of Discs in Set: 
1disc
ns_album_artistid: 
2
ns_album_id: 
405
ns_album_releasedate: 
Tuesday, January 2, 2001 - 05:00
ns_genre_1: 
0
ns_genre_2: 
0
Album Status: 
UPC/Price: 
Label: 
CD+MP3
UPC: 
075597960723BUN
Price: 
0.00
Label: 
MP3
UPC: 
075597960761
Price: 
10.00
MusicianDetails: 

MUSICIANS
Emanuel Ax, piano (1-3)
The Cleveland Orchestra, conducted by Christoph von Dohnányi (1-3)
The Hallé Orchestra, conducted by Kent Nagano (4, 5)

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