Century Rolls

Submitted by nonesuch on Thu, 05/29/2008 - 19:14
genre
Release Date
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

Nonesuch Selection Number

79607

Number of Discs in Set
1disc
ns_album_artistid
2
ns_album_id
405
ns_album_releasedate
ns_genre_1
0
ns_genre_2
0
Album Status
Artist Name
John Adams
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)

Cover Art
UPC/Price
Label
CD+MP3
Price
0.00
UPC
075597960723BUN
Label
MP3
Price
9.00
UPC
075597960761
  • 79607

News & Reviews

  • "John’s music is about promise and progress," Julia Bullock writes in her note in the new 40-disc box set John Adams Collected Works. "It comments on the inherent threat of exploiting power while embodying it. There’s fire and fragility, placed alongside organized form and frequency. I love John’s music. I love singing it, learning from it. And I love listening to it." You can read her complete note from the box set here.

  • "My friendship is with the private John," Nonesuch’s longtime President and current Chairman Emeritus Bob Hurwitz writes in the new 40-disc box set John Adams Collected Works, "but it is never far from my mind that I am with the man who wrote Doctor Atomic and Nixon in China, Harmonielehre and Naive and Sentimental Music, Scheherazade.2 and Shaker Loops." You can read his complete note from the box set here.

Buy Now

  • 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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