John Adams's "Guide to Strange Places" Named "Song of the Day" by Jazz.com
John Adams's recent Nonesuch release features the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra and conductor David Robertson performing the first recordings of Adams's Doctor Atomic Symphony and Guide to Strange Places. Jazz.com names the latter today's Song of the Day, saying: "This is the composer at his most mature, and demonstrating an uncanny skill in channeling his personality through a symphony orchestra." The Stranger's Christopher DeLaurenti calls it his "favorite orchestral work of this decade." The Philadelphia Inquirer gives the album 3.5 stars; the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, an A-.
John Adams's most recent Nonesuch release, the first recording of 2007's Doctor Atomic Symphony by the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra and conductor David Robertson, also features the orchestra in the first recording of Adams's 2001 piece Guide to Strange Places.
Jazz.com names the latter piece today's Song of the Day. The site rates the work a 95, with reviewer Ted Gioia praising the work's "psychological exploration that taps into deeper currents than one usually finds in the minimalist playbook." Says Gioia:
This is the composer at his most mature, and demonstrating an uncanny skill in channeling his personality through a symphony orchestra. The result may be a guide to strange places, but they are also the same ones that we inhabit everyday.
Read the full review at jazz.com.
The Stranger's Christopher DeLaurenti calls Guide to Strange Places his "favorite orchestral work of this decade." In an article about David Robertson, DeLaurenti says the new album shows that the conductor and the orchestra "as virtuosic advocates for the rhythmically tensile music of composer John Adams." Read more at thestranger.com.
The Philadelphia Inquirer calls the piece "clean, clear, empathetic and spirited" and gives the album itself three-and-a-half stars. The album's title piece, Doctor Atomic Symphony, while based on the music of Adams's 2005 opera, Doctor Atomic, "stands on its own, thanks to the piece's sturdy sense of symphonic integration," writes reviewer David Patrick Stearns. What's more, in Adams's symphonic distillation, "the music reveals much that's easily overlooked in the opera—a trumpet solo here, a fascinating cross-rhythm there." Read more at philly.com.
The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette gives the album an A-, with reviewer Ellis Widner concluding of the title piece: "This very strong work is given a stellar performance." Widner commends the orchestra, which "skillfully brings the emotion, the fears and angst associated with the work of J. Robert Oppenheimer and his colleagues to life as they tread into the scientific unknown with a mix of fascination, trepidation and determination." Read more by logging on at www2.arkansasonline.com.
Friday, March 17, 2017Friday, March 17, 2017Conor Oberst's Album "Salutations" Out Now; Full-Band Recordings with The Felice Brothers, Jim Keltner, Special Guests
Conor Oberst's new album, Salutations, is out now. The album, a companion to 2016's lauded Ruminations, comprises full-band versions of the ten tunes from that solo album plus seven additional songs. Salutations was recorded with The Felice Brothers, legendary drummer Jim Keltner, who co-produced the album, and special guests. "The results are quite simply sublime," says Sunday Express. "This is songwriting of the very highest quality, Oberst’s lyrics rarely less than astonishing. Wonderful." It "works exceedingly well," raves Q. "Both retaining the spirit of the original yet also transcending it, this was a risk worth taking." "Salutations is an absolute treat," exclaims Drowned in Sound. The Independent says it's "probably the best work of the singer’s career."
Monday, February 27, 2017Monday, February 27, 2017
Rhiannon Giddens's new album, Freedom Highway, was released on Friday to great critical acclaim. Giddens spent the day at Sing Sing prison, working with and performing for inmates as a part of Carnegie Hall's Musical Connections program. "Giddens is an immensely talented singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist with the instincts of a musical historian," says WFUV, which named Freedom Highway its New Dig of the week. "On this new collection, she expertly and powerfully tells the stories of those who could not and bears witness to their struggle ... Freedom Highway is welcome, relevant and important." The Los Angeles Times says: "It’s a powerful collection made all the more visceral by the stripped-down instrumental accompaniment around full-force-gale vocals in big moments, and delicate pleadings when songs are at their most intimate."