Earbox

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This 10-CD box set retrospective represents John Adams’s first 20-years' recorded output for Nonesuch, comprising composer-supervised recordings—many conducted or performed by Adams—from every phase of his career; features the world premiere recording of Slonimsky’s Earbox and the first Nonesuch recordings of Lollapalooza and Harmonium.

Description

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.

ProductionCredits

PRODUCTION CREDITS
Earbox
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

Nonesuch Selection Number

79453

Number of Discs in Set
10discs
ns_album_artistid
2
ns_album_id
2
ns_album_releasedate
ns_genre_1
0
ns_genre_2
0
Album Status
Artist Name
John Adams
MusicianDetails

MUSICIANS
Disc OneHarmonium (1-3): San Francisco Symphony, John Adams, conductor; San Francisco Symphony Chorus. Shaker Loops (4-7): Orchestra of St. Luke’s, John Adams, conductor.

Disc TwoThe Chairman Dances (1): San Francisco Symphony, Edo de Waart, conductor. Grand Pianola Music (2-4): London Sinfonietta, John Adams, conductor. 5: Orchestra of St. Luke’s, John Adams, conductor.

Disc ThreeNixon in China: Music by John Adams. Libretto by Alice Goodman. Cast in order of appearance: Sanford Sylvan, James Maddalena, Thomas Hammons, Carolann Page, Trudy Ellen Craney, John Duykers. Orchestra of St. Luke’s, Edo de Waart, conductor.

Disc FourThe Wound-Dresser (1): Sanford Sylvan, baritone; Orchestra of St. Luke’s, John Adams, conductor. Christian Zeal and Activity (2): San Francisco Symphony, Edo de Waart, conductor. Five Songs (3-7): Dawn Upshaw, soprano; Orchestra of St. Luke’s, John Adams, conductor. Eros Piano: Paul Crossley, piano; Orchestra of St. Luke’s, John Adams, conductor.

Disc FiveThe Death of Klinghoffer: Music by John Adams. Libretto by Alice Goodman. Cast in order of appearance: James Maddalena, Janice Felty, Thomas Hammons, Thomas Young, Eugene Perry, Sanford Sylvan, Stephanie Friedman, Sheila Nadler. Orchestra of the Opéra de Lyon, Kent Nagano, conductor. The London Opera Chorus, Richard Cooke, director.

Disc SixTwo Fanfares for Orchestra (1, 2), Common Tones in Simple Time (3): San Francisco Symphony, Edo de Waart, conductor. El Dorado (4, 5): The Hallé Orchestra, Kent Nagano, conductor.

Disc SevenHarmonielehre (1-3): San Francisco Symphony, Edo de Waart, conductor. Violin Concerto (4-6): Gidon Kremer, violin; London Symphony Orchestra, Kent Nagano, conductor.

Disc EightChamber Symphony (1-3), Gnarly Buttons (7-9): London Sinfonietta, John Adams, conductor; Michael Collins, clarinet (7-9). Hoodoo Zephyr (4-6): Performed by John Adams.

Disc NineI Was Looking at the Ceiling and Then I Saw the Sky: Music by John Adams. Libretto by June Jordan. Cast in order of appearance: Audra McDonald, Michael McElroy, Welly Yang, Angela Teek, Darius de Haas, Marin Mazzie, Richard Muenz. Grant Gershon, vocal director. John Adams, conductor.

Disc TenLollapalooza (1), Slonimsky's Earbox (13): The Hallé Orchestra, Kent Nagano, conductor. John's Book of Alleged Dances (2-12): Kronos Quartet: David Harrington, violin; John Sherba, violin; Hank Dutt, viola; Joan Jeanrenaud, cello.

Cover Art
UPC/Price
Label
SINGLE FORMAT (OLD)
Price
0.00
UPC
075597945324
Label
MP3
Price
99.00
UPC
075597945362
  • 79453

Track Listing

News & Reviews

  • Girls of the Golden West, John Adams’ eighth music theater work to be released by Nonesuch, is due April 26. The composer leads the LA Phil in this recording made in Disney Hall, with the Los Angeles Master Chorale led by Grant Gershon. You can hear the aria "Wagon Ride," featuring Davóne Tines and Julia Bullock, now. For the opera, which tells the story of the California Gold Rush, longtime Adams collaborator Peter Sellars drew from original sources from the era—letters, journals, newspaper articles, and familiar song lyrics—to create the libretto. The cast also includes Paul Appleby, Hye Jung Lee, Elliot Madore, Daniela Mack, and Ryan McKinny.

  • The Metropolitan Opera has announced its 2024–25 season, including the Met premiere of John Adams's latest opera, Antony and Cleopatra, on May 12, 2025. The adaptation of Shakespeare’s drama stars soprano Julia Bullock, following her company debut in Adams’s El Niño this April, as Cleopatra, opposite bass-baritone Gerald Finley’s Antony. Adams himself conducts a new staging by director Elkhanah Pulitzer, who transports the story from ancient Rome to the Golden Age of Hollywood in the 1930s. Performances run through June 7, 2025. 

Buy Now

  • 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.

    Credits

    MUSICIANS
    Disc OneHarmonium (1-3): San Francisco Symphony, John Adams, conductor; San Francisco Symphony Chorus. Shaker Loops (4-7): Orchestra of St. Luke’s, John Adams, conductor.

    Disc TwoThe Chairman Dances (1): San Francisco Symphony, Edo de Waart, conductor. Grand Pianola Music (2-4): London Sinfonietta, John Adams, conductor. 5: Orchestra of St. Luke’s, John Adams, conductor.

    Disc ThreeNixon in China: Music by John Adams. Libretto by Alice Goodman. Cast in order of appearance: Sanford Sylvan, James Maddalena, Thomas Hammons, Carolann Page, Trudy Ellen Craney, John Duykers. Orchestra of St. Luke’s, Edo de Waart, conductor.

    Disc FourThe Wound-Dresser (1): Sanford Sylvan, baritone; Orchestra of St. Luke’s, John Adams, conductor. Christian Zeal and Activity (2): San Francisco Symphony, Edo de Waart, conductor. Five Songs (3-7): Dawn Upshaw, soprano; Orchestra of St. Luke’s, John Adams, conductor. Eros Piano: Paul Crossley, piano; Orchestra of St. Luke’s, John Adams, conductor.

    Disc FiveThe Death of Klinghoffer: Music by John Adams. Libretto by Alice Goodman. Cast in order of appearance: James Maddalena, Janice Felty, Thomas Hammons, Thomas Young, Eugene Perry, Sanford Sylvan, Stephanie Friedman, Sheila Nadler. Orchestra of the Opéra de Lyon, Kent Nagano, conductor. The London Opera Chorus, Richard Cooke, director.

    Disc SixTwo Fanfares for Orchestra (1, 2), Common Tones in Simple Time (3): San Francisco Symphony, Edo de Waart, conductor. El Dorado (4, 5): The Hallé Orchestra, Kent Nagano, conductor.

    Disc SevenHarmonielehre (1-3): San Francisco Symphony, Edo de Waart, conductor. Violin Concerto (4-6): Gidon Kremer, violin; London Symphony Orchestra, Kent Nagano, conductor.

    Disc EightChamber Symphony (1-3), Gnarly Buttons (7-9): London Sinfonietta, John Adams, conductor; Michael Collins, clarinet (7-9). Hoodoo Zephyr (4-6): Performed by John Adams.

    Disc NineI Was Looking at the Ceiling and Then I Saw the Sky: Music by John Adams. Libretto by June Jordan. Cast in order of appearance: Audra McDonald, Michael McElroy, Welly Yang, Angela Teek, Darius de Haas, Marin Mazzie, Richard Muenz. Grant Gershon, vocal director. John Adams, conductor.

    Disc TenLollapalooza (1), Slonimsky's Earbox (13): The Hallé Orchestra, Kent Nagano, conductor. John's Book of Alleged Dances (2-12): Kronos Quartet: David Harrington, violin; John Sherba, violin; Hank Dutt, viola; Joan Jeanrenaud, cello.

    PRODUCTION CREDITS
    Earbox
    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

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