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News & Reviews
- Monday, September 23, 2013
John Adams's Saxophone Concerto Given US Premiere by Baltimore Symphony Orchestra: "Ecstatic Ride" (Baltimore Sun)
John Adams’s Saxophone Concerto received its US premiere over the weekend, with Marin Alsop conducting the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and saxophonist Timothy McAllister, for whom the "virtuosic piece" (Washington Post) was written. The Baltimore Sun says "the score deftly fuses classical and jazz elements to create a cohesive, arresting experience ... Adams, whose style has evolved over the decades from pristine minimalism to a kind of post-Mahler richness of thematic ideas and orchestral textures, has created here a kinetic, ecstatic ride that achieves giddy heights along the way." McAllister performs the Saxophone Concerto with the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra on October 5 and 6.
- Wednesday, August 21, 2013
John Adams makes his first-ever Australian concert appearances with programs titled Adams Conducts Adams in Sydney and Melbourne. Marking his Sydney Opera House debut as conductor, Adams leads the Sydney Symphony Orchestra and saxophonist Timothy McAllister in the world premiere of his Saxophone Concerto on Thursday and Friday. Also on the program are Adams’s Violin Concerto performed by Leila Josefowicz and works by Beethoven and Respighi. Adams heads next to Melbourne to conduct the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra in an all-Adams program at Hamer Hall August 29 and 31 featuring the Australian premiere of City Noir and performances of his Violin Concerto and Short Ride in a Fast Machine.
About this Album
On October 19, 1999, Nonesuch Records released The John Adams Earbox, a 10-CD box set retrospective, representing nearly all of John Adams’s recorded output for the label. The set includes all of the composer’s major works with which Adams has redefined contemporary classical music over the previous two decades. All recordings on The John Adams Earbox were supervised by the composer, and many were conducted or performed by Adams as well. All but four works on the Earbox were originally released on Nonesuch as first recordings.
The John Adams Earbox includes examples from every phase of Adams’s career, from his earliest orchestral pieces such as Grand Pianola Music (1982), Harmonielehre (1985), and Harmonium (1980), to the widely hailed operas Nixon in China (1985-86) and The Death of Klinghoffer (1990-91), to works of this decade including Chamber Symphony (1992), Violin Concerto (1993), John’s Book of Alleged Dances (written for Kronos Quartet in 1994), Gnarly Buttons (1995) and the 1995 stagework I Was Looking at the Ceiling and Then I Saw The Sky.
The Earbox features the world premiere recording of Slonimsky’s Earbox (1996), a virtuosic piece for orchestra, in a performance by The Hallé Orchestra with Kent Nagano conducting. Also included are the first Nonesuch recordings of Lollapalooza (1995), an orchestral piece written as a 40th birthday present for Simon Rattle, and Harmonium, in a performance by the San Francisco Symphony and Chorus, conducted by Adams.
A comprehensive illustrated booklet (nearly 200 pages) accompanies the box set with liner notes by John Adams, Renaud Machart (chief music critic of Le Monde), and Nonesuch Records President Robert Hurwitz.
Disc One—1-3: San Francisco Symphony, John Adams, conductor; San Francisco Symphony Chorus, Vance George, director. 4-7: Orchestra of St. Luke’s, John Adams, conductor.
Disc Two—1: San Francisco Symphony, Edo de Waart, conductor. 2-4: London Sinfonietta, John Adams, conductor; John Alley, Shelagh Sutherland, pianos; Nicole Tibbels, Judith Rees, sopranos; Teresa Shaw, mezzo-soprano. 5: Orchestra of St. Luke’s, John Adams, conductor.
Disc Three—Music by John Adams. Libretto by Alice Goodman. Cast in order of appearance: Sanford Sylvan (Chou En-lai); James Maddalena (Richard Nixon); Thomas Hammons (Henry Kissinger); Carolann Page (Pat Nixon); Mari Opatz, Stephanie Friedman, Marion Dry (Three Contraltos, Secretaries to Mao); Trudy Ellen Craney (Chiang Ch’ing [Madame Mao Tse-tung]); John Duykers (Mao Tse-tung). Orchestra of St. Luke’s, Edo de Waart, conductor.
Disc Four—1: Sanford Sylvan, baritone; Orchestra of St. Luke’s, John Adams, conductor; Naoko Tanaka, violin; Chris Gekker, trumpet. 2: San Francisco Symphony, Edo de Waart, conductor. 3-7: Dawn Upshaw, soprano; Orchestra of St. Luke’s, John Adams, conductor. 8: Paul Crossley, piano; Orchestra of St. Luke’s, John Adams, conductor.
Disc Five—Music by John Adams. Libretto by Alice Goodman. Cast in order of appearance: James Maddalena (The Captain); Janice Felty (Swiss Godmother, Austrian Woman, British Dancing Girl); Thomas Hammons (The First Officer, “Rambo”); Thomas Young (Molqi); Eugene Perry (Mamoud); Sanford Sylvan (Leon Klinghoffer); Stephanie Friedman (Omar); Sheila Nadler (Marilyn Klinghoffer). Orchestra of the Opéra de Lyon, Kent Nagano, conductor. The London Opera Chorus, Richard Cooke, director.
Disc Six—1-3: San Francisco Symphony, Edo de Waart, conductor; Glenn Fischtal, Laurie McGaw, trumpets (1-2). 4-5: The Hallé Orchestra, Kent Nagano, conductor.
Disc Seven—1-3: San Francisco Symphony, Edo de Waart, conductor. 4-6: Gidon Kremer, violin; London Symphony Orchestra, Kent Nagano, conductor.
Disc Eight—1-3, 7-9: London Sinfonietta, John Adams, conductor; Michael Collins, clarinet (7-9). 4-6: Performed by John Adams.
Disc Nine—Music by John Adams. Libretto by June Jordan. Cast in order of appearance: Audra McDonald (Consuelo); Michael McElroy (Dewain); Welly Yang (Rick); Angela Teek (Leila); Darius de Haas (David); Marin Mazzie (Tiffany); Richard Muenz (Mike). Grant Gershon, vocal director. Seppo Kantonen, Marja Mutru, Markku Tabell, keyboards; Janne Murto, saxophone; Kari Tenkanen, clarinet, bass clarinet; Hannu Rantanen, electric bass, double bass; Jari Nieminen, guitar; Jari-Pekka Karvonen, drums. John Adams, conductor.
Disc Ten—1, 13: The Hallé Orchestra, Kent Nagano, conductor. 2-12: Kronos Quartet: David Harrington, violin; John Sherba, violin; Hank Dutt, viola; Joan Jeanrenaud, cello.
This compilation mastered by Robert C. Ludwig, Gateway Mastering Studios, Portland, ME
Design by Bethany Johns Design
Box cover concept by John Heiden, SMOG Design
Cover photo by William Clift, Point Reyes, CA, 1997
Executive Producer: Robert Hurwitz