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Gnarly Buttons / John's Book of Alleged Dances

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  • John Adams’s "City Noir" & Saxophone Concerto Due May 6 with St. Louis Symphony, David Robertson, Saxophonist Timothy McAllister

    Nonesuch Records releases City Noir—comprising the title piece by composer John Adams and the debut recording of his Saxophone Concerto—on May 6, 2014. Both pieces are performed by the St. Louis Symphony led by Music Director David Robertson. Saxophonist Timothy McAllister is featured on both pieces. The City Noir album is available to pre-order in the Nonesuch Store.

  • John Adams Joins Toronto Symphony Orchestra for Its Tenth Annual New Creations Festival

    John Adams has teamed up with Toronto Symphony Orchestra Music Director Peter Oundjian for the tenth-annual New Creations Festival, running Saturday, March 1, through Friday, March 7. Following his TSO debut in the 2011 New Creations Festival, Adams returns with his music as a focus in the 2014 Festival, with Oundjian leading the TSO in his Doctor Atomic Symphony and the composer leading the orchestra in the Canadian premieres of his Slonimsky’s Earbox and Absolute Jest.

About this Album

Gnarly Buttons is the puckish title for John Adams 1996 concerto offered here in its first recording. Written for the British clarinet soloist Michael Collins, he performs it here with the London Sinfonietta, conducted by John Adams. The work’s instrumentation underscores the vernacular roots of the music: a string ensemble is augmented by banjo, mandolin, guitar, trombone, two low double reeds, piano, and two keyboards playing a variety of sampled sounds including accordion, clarinet—and cow.

Also premiered on this new recording is a set of 11 short pieces for string quartet, entitled John’s Book of Alleged Dances, written for and performed by Kronos Quartet. Alleged Dances also references folk elements such as the Western hoe-down and a Protestant hymn-tune. Several of the dances combine sampled rhythm tracks with live strings, and project a freewheeling imagination that is mirrored in the movement titles, like “Dogjam,” “Rag the Bone,” “Stubble Crotchet,” and “Alligator Escalator.”


John’s Book of Alleged Dances
Kronos Quartet:
David Harrington, violin
John Sherba, violin
Hank Dutt, viola
Joan Jeanrenaud, cello

Gnarly Buttons
London Sinfonietta:
John Adams, conductor
Michael Collins, clarinet
Gareth Hulse, English horn
John Orford, bassoon
David Purser, trombone
Rebecca Hirsch, violin
Joan Atherton, violin
Roger chase, viola
Christopher van Kampen, cello
Lynda Houghton, double bass
Steve Smith, banjo, mandolin, guitar
Shelagh Sutherland, sampler/piano
David Maric, sampler/piano

Gnarly Buttons
Produced by Philip Waldway
Recorded July 1997 at Air Studios (Lyndhurst), London, England
Engineered by Geoff Foster
Edited and mixed At Galaxy Classics, Mol, Belgium
Engineered by Kees de Visser

John’s Book of Alleged Dances
Produced by Judith Sherman
Recorded August 1995 (Toot Nipple) and August 1996 at Skywalker Sound, Nicasio, CA
Recording Engineer: Craig Silvey
Assistant Engineer: John Klepko, Chris Haynes (Toot Nipple)
Editing Assistant: Jeanne Velonis
Electronic tapes prepared by Mark Grey

Mastered by Paul Zinman at SoundByte Productions, New York City

Design by John Gall
Cover photograph courtesy of Valerie Schaff/Graphistock

Executive Producer: Robert Hurwitz

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