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  • Tuesday, January 20, 2009
    Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Adams Proves "He Is a Composer of Our Time" in Pittsburgh Symphony Concerts

    John Adams led the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, of which he is the Composer of the Year, in two concerts this past weekend at Heinz Hall in Pittsburgh. Featured on the programs were The Nixon Tapes, version 3, containing selections from the opera Nixon in China; Doctor Atomic Symphony; and On the Transmigration of Souls.

    The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's classical music critic, Andrew Druckenbrod, in his review of the events, says the composer "has penned some of the best music of the last quarter century, including his Violin Concerto, symphony Naive and Sentimental Music, fanfare Short Ride in a Fast Machine and string piece Shaker Loops."

    Even so, Druckenbrod asserts, it is "the credibility he has given classical music" that sets Adams apart. Even in what could be considered a more challenging climate for new-music composition in years' past, the writer asserts, Adams was among those who "gave us a reason to be proud again of the splendor that can emerge from 100 orchestral musicians. He is a composer of our time."

    Druckenbrod calls Adams's setting of Donne's "Batter my heart," the signature aria from 2005's Doctor Atomic, represented in Adams's symphonic adaptation by trumpet, "hauntingly gorgeous," and an example of "just how far Adams has come from his earlier use of minimalism." Doctor Atomic Symphony, performed in both concerts, "is Adams' most robust orchestral score to date, and the PSO answered his call with power and precision."

    On Saturday's program, Doctor Atomic Symphony was preceded by On the Transmigration of Souls, Adams's 2002 orchestral piece written in memory of those killed in the previous September's World Trade Center attack. The composer, says Druckenbrod, "succeeds here brilliantly by creating a work of exceedingly good taste ... Images and feelings about the fateful day roamed in my head in an intense way that hasn't happened since 2001."

    The concerts, the reviewer concludes, should be seen as a reminder of what the Pittsburgh Symphony can do, "especially when it takes risks with extraordinary creative minds such as Adams."

    Read the complete article at post-gazette.com.

    ---

    The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review's classical music critic, Mark Kanny, describes On the Transmigration of Souls as "awesome and haunting to experience, featuring a soundscape of city sounds, messages left for friends and family missing after the twin towers collapsed, and the recitation of names of the missing."

    He sees it as an appropriate lead-in to Doctor Atomic Symphony, itself "a masterly new piece distilled from music from his opera about the anxieties of scientists creating the first atomic bomb."

    Read the concert review at pittsburghlive.com.

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Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Adams Proves "He Is a Composer of Our Time" in Pittsburgh Symphony Concerts

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nonesuch's picture
on January 20, 2009 - 6:28pm
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Tuesday, January 20, 2009 - 17:00
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John Adams led the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, of which he is the Composer of the Year, in two concerts this past weekend at Pittsburgh's Heinz Hall. Featured on the programs were Doctor Atomic Symphony, On the Transmigration of Souls, and selections from Nixon in China. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette says the composer "has penned some of the best music of the last quarter century" and "gave us a reason to be proud again of the splendor that can emerge from 100 orchestral musicians. He is a composer of our time." The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review calls Transmigration "awesome and haunting to experience" and Doctor Atomic Symphony "a masterly new piece."

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John Adams led the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, of which he is the Composer of the Year, in two concerts this past weekend at Heinz Hall in Pittsburgh. Featured on the programs were The Nixon Tapes, version 3, containing selections from the opera Nixon in China; Doctor Atomic Symphony; and On the Transmigration of Souls.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's classical music critic, Andrew Druckenbrod, in his review of the events, says the composer "has penned some of the best music of the last quarter century, including his Violin Concerto, symphony Naive and Sentimental Music, fanfare Short Ride in a Fast Machine and string piece Shaker Loops."

Even so, Druckenbrod asserts, it is "the credibility he has given classical music" that sets Adams apart. Even in what could be considered a more challenging climate for new-music composition in years' past, the writer asserts, Adams was among those who "gave us a reason to be proud again of the splendor that can emerge from 100 orchestral musicians. He is a composer of our time."

Druckenbrod calls Adams's setting of Donne's "Batter my heart," the signature aria from 2005's Doctor Atomic, represented in Adams's symphonic adaptation by trumpet, "hauntingly gorgeous," and an example of "just how far Adams has come from his earlier use of minimalism." Doctor Atomic Symphony, performed in both concerts, "is Adams' most robust orchestral score to date, and the PSO answered his call with power and precision."

On Saturday's program, Doctor Atomic Symphony was preceded by On the Transmigration of Souls, Adams's 2002 orchestral piece written in memory of those killed in the previous September's World Trade Center attack. The composer, says Druckenbrod, "succeeds here brilliantly by creating a work of exceedingly good taste ... Images and feelings about the fateful day roamed in my head in an intense way that hasn't happened since 2001."

The concerts, the reviewer concludes, should be seen as a reminder of what the Pittsburgh Symphony can do, "especially when it takes risks with extraordinary creative minds such as Adams."

Read the complete article at post-gazette.com.

---

The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review's classical music critic, Mark Kanny, describes On the Transmigration of Souls as "awesome and haunting to experience, featuring a soundscape of city sounds, messages left for friends and family missing after the twin towers collapsed, and the recitation of names of the missing."

He sees it as an appropriate lead-in to Doctor Atomic Symphony, itself "a masterly new piece distilled from music from his opera about the anxieties of scientists creating the first atomic bomb."

Read the concert review at pittsburghlive.com.

featuredimage: 
John Adams, "On the Transmigration of Souls" [cover]

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