Wednesday, 7 November 2018

John Adams - The Chairman Dances, etc (1987)

If you enjoyed the John Adams piano post last month, here's some of his classics for orchestra/chamber ensembles.  This album was released as a trailer for Adams' opera Nixon In China, which would get a full album release the following year.  The title piece here remains the most famous excerpt from the opera, and chugs along nicely with its foxtrot and cabaret influences representing the dance between Mao and his wife.

The rest of this collection gives a nice overview of Adams' work from the mid 70s onward, with the gentle Christian Zeal & Activity being the oldest.  With the melancholy atmosphere and overlay of snippets from a preacher's sermon, it somewhat evokes Gavin Bryars' Jesus Blood Never Failed Me Yet.  Next up are 'Two Fanfares for Orchestra' from 1986, the first being the sedate pulse of Tromba Lontana and the second the more upbeat and well-known Short Ride In A Fast Machine.  Lastly, Common Tones In Simple Time (1980) stretches out for a nicely hypnotic 20 minutes, and makes plain the influence of Steve Reich on Adams' compositional style.

link
pw: sgtg 

10 comments:

  1. Hi!
    I have an online "radio" station, Radio Free Toronto (RFTO) that features some of the music you feature on your blog. (LOVE what you post - we have similar tastes in many ways...) So, check it out - I think you will dig it.
    https://player.fastcast4u.com/rfto/
    best, HW

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Awesome, thanks Henry. Just had a listen before going to work - the Linda Perhacs fan in me is definitely liking Susan Christie!

      Delete
    2. Cool! Right now it has about 100,000 songs on Random. My goal is to get it up to about 200,000, and then organise 2 hour "shows" which would pull from the Archive, but in a more focussed way, so there will be a "Metal" show, an Avant Garde show, a folk show, a jazz show, etc... It will change over time. It is my latest Art Project. For more on what that means, go here: http://www.rfto.ca
      Cheers!

      Delete
  2. Thanks for this! I think I mentioned before that Nixon in China is my fave John Adams collection, and The Chairman Dances is probably my fave composition of his - even if it's what Adams calls "a lost episode" from the opera that didn't make the cut.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Cool, thanks for clarifying. Should've looked that up properly myself - and must get hold of a full copy of the opera sometime!

      Delete
    2. Hey Alan,

      I don't have a copy of that handy, but I do have this which I think you'd be interested in: an Elektra/Nonesuch sampler from the late 80s that has some Adams, Kronos Quartet, Phillip Glass, John Zorn, World Saxophone Quartet and more! https://www116.zippyshare.com/v/4v53YCR4/file.html

      Delete
  3. Over the last few years I was made aware we have TWO active composers alive today named John Adams, this one who I've enjoyed for many years, and this one: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Luther_Adams who's work i also enjoy. Glad he adds his middle name to help avoid confusing the two. I've only heard a little bit of Luther's work, but I like what I've heard. You ever heard him Alan?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've seen his name mentioned a lot lately, but haven't had a listen. Definitely looks like one I might like.

      I remember looking for John Adams' wikipedia page, and it goes to the 'John Adams' of the Founding Fathers first, then on clicking on the disambiguation list I thought whoooah, there are a lot of people called John Adams!

      Delete
  4. Why, here's an example:
    John Luther Adams - The Far Country
    https://www65.zippyshare.com/v/oVuRMU3L/file.html

    ReplyDelete