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Adams: Chamber Symphony; Grand Pianola Music

John Adams , London Sinfonietta , John Alley , Shelagh Sutherland Audio CD
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)

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MP3 Music, 6 Songs, 2005 $9.49  
Audio CD, 1994 --  
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Adams: Chamber Symphony; Grand Pianola Music + Adams: Son of Chamber Symphony / String Quartet
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Product Details

  • Performer: John Alley, Shelagh Sutherland
  • Orchestra: London Sinfonietta
  • Conductor: John Adams
  • Composer: John Adams
  • Audio CD (October 25, 1994)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Nonesuch
  • ASIN: B000005IZR
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #151,084 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Chamber Symphony: Mongrel Airs
2. Chamber Symphony: Aria With Walking Bass
3. Chamber Symphony: Roadrunner
4. Grand Pianola Music: Part IA
5. Grand Pianola Music: Part IB
6. Grand Pianola Music: On The Great Divide

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best performances of any Adams pieces. February 8, 2001
By Jill J.
Format:Audio CD
Not only is the piece amazing! (of course) but the performance is incredible! The London Sinfonietta plays with remarkable virtuosity and STYLE! As a musician having listened and seen the score, I know this piece is extremely difficult, and they play with wonderful competence and character. Aside from the fantastic playing, the piece is a real ear opener for fans of Adams. The majority of his music (or, that which is being recorded) are large orchestral works. Large orchestras, lots of soloists, etc. Wonderful stuff, if you haven't heard Harmonium yet, go listen. But the chamber symphony is like all the very best things condensed into a small ensemble and 20 or so minutes. The result is a perfect, high energy, high substance, fantastic piece. I bought it a month ago and it hasn't left my CD player since I put it in. If you're a fan, this piece is kind of like a John Adams primer.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Defense of Grand Pianola June 22, 2006
Format:Audio CD
I have to say first off that 'Grand Pianola Music' is a favorite piece of mine. I too, am a composer, and open to musical styles of all types. However, where another reviewer hears embarassingly trite, unoriginal and obvious music, I hear music of passion and joyousness, music that might embarass some because it is so unashamed of reveling in the glory of its own sound. Grand Pianola Music is like the big, brassy, colorful uncle who crashes the posh dinner party, horrifies the snob guests and captivates the more open-minded ones. Unfortunately, it seems that despite the talk of reaching out and eschewing the "Who cares if you listen?" mentality of the 20th century academic mainstream, contemporary classical music still retains the atmosphere of a posh upper-class dinner party; having fun is the most gauche faux pas imaginable.

Originality, complexity, structure, and artistic meaning, these are the concerns of too many contemporary composers and aesthetic critics. Beauty, truth, and emotional meaning are the concerns of most ordinary listeners. Which sounds better to you? In the end, it all depends on listening to the music and deciding if you like it or not; if it moves you in your gut. One reviewer found the piano's theme in the last movement of this piece 'obvious' or 'trite' I found it noble and almost Beethovenesque. Make up your own mind.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Exciting Adams December 1, 2000
Format:Audio CD
If you are a devotee of minimalist music, and, especially, if you are fond of the work of John Adams, this is a CD you will want to have. The mood and excitement which Adams creates in these compositions is even greater than in his shorter works, and, consequently, even more rewarding.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Format:Audio CD
That's not a lie. I'm sixteen. I listen to all sorts of music, rock, classical, opera, hip hop. Just about anything. But when my dad (who is a college humanities prof.) played me the third movement of Grand Pianola Music, I was instantly impressed.

To this day, it is only on a par with Beethoven's 9th Movement IV and Pastoral Final Movement with the most beautiful things I've ever heard.

I strongly urge you to buy this album.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Amazing music June 19, 1999
By A Customer
Format:Audio CD
I stumbled on Grand Pianola music by pure chance, hearing this unlikely title over the radio. It took me 30 seconds to decide to leave it on. The overall effect of the twin pianists, the vocal trio and the rest of the ensamble is one of spiritual uplifting.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars First movement - minor problem August 17, 2011
Format:Audio CD
one of the pianists ( I believe it's the second ) plays an A natural instead of an Ab at around 8:32 in the first movement of Grand Pianola Music so it really sticks out. I even checked the score to make sure Adams didn't write an A natural for some sick reason... he didn't! Has anyone noticed this or are my ears oddly acute today? I never noticed it before and I've had this recording for quite a long time! Overall, this album is wonderful and the London Sinfonietta does a fantastic job along with the soloists in Grand Pianola Music.
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