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Adams: Violin Concerto/Shaker Loops

John Adams , Kent Nagano , London Symphony Orchestra , Orchestra of St. Luke's , Gidon Kremer Audio CD
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)

Price: $20.55 & FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Details
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Audio CD, 1996 $20.55  

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Adams: Violin Concerto/Shaker Loops + John Adams: Harmonielehre / The Chairman Dances / Tromba Lontana / Short Ride in a Fast Machine
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Product Details

  • Performer: Gidon Kremer
  • Orchestra: London Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra of St. Luke's
  • Conductor: John Adams, Kent Nagano
  • Composer: John Adams
  • Audio CD (April 9, 1996)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Nonesuch
  • ASIN: B000005J3B
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #212,248 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Violin Concerto (1993): I Quarter Note = 78
2. Violin Concerto (1993): II Chaconne: Body Through Which The Dream Flows
3. Violin Concerto (1993): III Toccare
4. Shaker Loops (1977-83): I Shaking And Trembling
5. Shaker Loops (1977-83): II Hymning Slews
6. Shaker Loops (1977-83): III Loops And Verses
7. Shaker Loops (1977-83): IV A Final Shaking

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com

Turned loose on John Adams's surprisingly flexible violin concerto, the team of conductor Kent Nagano and soloist Gidon Kremer do justice to its passionate verve. Nagano leads the London Symphony Orchestra to the point of near-explosion as it approaches Kremer's sluicing take on the work. Kremer hits the right slipping scales and sometimes slashing skids like magic, with the orchestra seeping into the sound and leaping forward for Kremer to chase.

The sound is effusively rich and far distant from Adams's more pronounced studies in repetition and harmonic expansion. The rendition of Shaker Loops here dates from 1983, that is, it's in the hands of the Orchestra of St. Luke's rather than performed by string septet, for which it was premiered in 1978. While some prefer the economy of the smaller-ensemble recordings (particularly the Ensemble Modern's version), this Adams-conducted version has the force of a lurching train. It's dense and overflowing, repeatedly surprising the listener with its Trojan horse-like discovery of small innovations beneath the large-group expansiveness. --Andrew Bartlett


Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
28 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great new music May 2, 2000
Format:Audio CD
If you're checking out this site you are probably already familiar with Adam's music. I was first introduced to Adams with A Short Ride in a Fast Machine, which I had the good fortune to perform in an orchestra. I then bought Fearful Symmetries (primarily because of the cool title) and loved that as well, being a fan already of minimalism through Glass, Reich, and Riley. Adams has really taken his music in directions far away from all of those composers. The violin concerto on this disc is not altogether solid, in my opinion. The first movement does little for me. Adams lays down a beautiful blanket of sound with the orchestra and writes what seems like improvisatory thoughts in the violin part over the top of it. It takes repeated listens to start hearing and recognizing the motifs and appreciating the overarching structure to the movement. The movement just doesn't speak to me. The second movement, on the other hand, is an absolutely beautiful chaconne that to me carries a lot of melancholy and nostalgia on the violin line, but you will hear what you want to. The price of the CD is worth it for this movement alone. The Toccare is a real showpiece, perpetual motion style driving rhythm, that must be a real finger buster. Shaker Loops is more of the real minimalist piece here, and it was composed about 10 to 15 years earlier than the concerto. I love listening to it. It works the best as background music, in my opinion, unless you are going to see it live. Tune in once in a while and you'll hear some really clever harmonic turns underneath all the texture. One of the things that I love about minimalistic music is also how you can get lost in thought listening to the patterns, then suddenly realize everything is completely different in the music and you wonder how it got that way without you noticing it.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Quit calling it minimalism! November 8, 2001
By A Customer
Format:Audio CD
I think if John Adams were to read some of the earlier reviews that referred to him as a minimalist and to these pieces as minimalist works, he would hunt down the reviewers at all costs. These pieces do show some influence of the minimalist period, but both pieces are such richly vested with luscious melodies and a strong sense of change that we'd be insane to label them as minimalist.
Kremer, always a consummate musician, provides us with yet another gorgeous recording. Kent Nagano, the conductor, works well with kremer here - the LSO's attack on this piece perfectly parallels Kremer's slicing approach. The piece will swell to points where you'd think the speakers would burst from the intensity, and then drop back down to a quiet, almost sinister set of pizzicati lines.
It's quite a rush. This piece is definitely in the running for one of the great violin concerti of the 20th century
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18 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Two of minimalism's finest works October 15, 2000
Format:Audio CD
These two works by American composer John Adams, "Violin Concerto" (1993) and "Shaker Loops" (1977, revised 1983) are two of the finest minimalist works I've ever heard. Adams is one of the few minimalist composers that has evolved into something else. He hasn't limited himself strictly to that genre.
The earlier of these two works "Shaker Loops" is the more traditionally minimalist of the two. Even then, it is still breaking away from strict minimalism. The pulsating repetiveness is still there, but there are more lyrical passages that release and provided a much needed rest from the intensity of the hard repetition. Scored for string orchestra, its often hard to imagine that only strings are making these sounds.
The "Violin Concerto" concerto is easily the more mature of the two works. At this point in his career, Adams is definately "post-minimalist" (all these labels mean virtually nothing!) New music advocate Gidon Kremer is the perfect choice as soloist for this piercing, energetic and exciting work. It is a piece often brimming with energy. It is also important that such a major contemporary composer is going back and returning to a very popular and traditional form considering that most modern composers do whatever they see fit by either inventing new forms or abandoning form entirely. The violin almost never stops completely overpowering the orchestra's understated but excellent part. The third movement in particular is quite unlike most violin concertos. Very spiky and fun.
A splendid pair of works by one of today's most famour composers. The violin concerto, especially is worth checking out.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nonesuch delivers.Again November 26, 2002
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
John adams is one of the most popular living composers of"modern" classical music[I believe the cutoff point, though arbitrary is usually WWII}.I came to him late, through my husband. Modersn classical music , I said? What the hell is that?My husband kept playing bits and pieces of adams for me, and more and more i found myself amazed. and swayed. His operas have been groundbreaking{Nixon in China} controversial{Death Of klinghoffer},his compostions sublimely beautiful{shaker Loops or harmonium].HIS STATURE IS WORTHY THEN OF SUCH A MONUMENTAL CAREER SPANNING BOX SET.This 10 disc set[great value, again from NONESUCH}encompasses Adams' entire career,and though there are some misses here{I was looking at the ceiling and then i saw the sky doesnt quite fit},it is still magnificent. the Highlights are ,{for me} the Wound Dresser, Chamber symphony,Violin Concerto, of course, Shaker Loops and Harmonuim are wonderful. The true jewels here are Nixon in China,the Chairman dances and the Death of Klinghoffer,which is simply a masterpiece. The set comes with a wonderful book, which contains essay's by Robert Hurwitz {An Uncommon Man}renaud Machart[John adams as seen from europe} and Essays before an earbox by Adams himself.A Chronology and dicography are included. A wonderful study of an American original,worth the investment, Highly highly recommended
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Actual CD track listings
The actual sequencing of the 10 CDs is:

DISC 1:
Harmonium
Shaker Loops

DISC 2:
The Chairman Dances
Grand Pianola Music
Fearful... Read more
Published on May 31, 2012 by Wayne Barker
5.0 out of 5 stars contemporary masterpiece
Adams' Violin Concerto is probably the best work in the genre since the great concerto by Alban Berg or even since Sibelius. Read more
Published on December 8, 2010 by Norman Rabkin
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing
I don't like to take up much space with negative music reviews, but from time to time I feel the urge to let readers know that although I often advocate "classical" music by... Read more
Published on July 12, 2009 by Karl W. Nehring
1.0 out of 5 stars Relentless and Uninspired
This is Adams at his worst.He can be flash(as in Faast Ride,loopalooza etc) but at least those pieces sound like good film music at best. Read more
Published on May 27, 2006 by Mr. G. Yeloff
5.0 out of 5 stars A Conversation Among Violin, Orchestra and Audience
Hard to believe that John Adams' virtuosic and inordinately beautiful VIOLIN CONCERTO is already over ten years old. Read more
Published on November 6, 2004 by Grady Harp
5.0 out of 5 stars Moved to tears
Never before in my life was i moved so intensely and directly by classical music. I put the first cd in my player and a few minutes later tears are flowing. Read more
Published on March 18, 2004 by E. During
4.0 out of 5 stars harmonia in excelsis
I must agree with Mr. Bartlett, particularly with regard to "Ceiling." It may well be because his Violin Concerto and Harmonielehre are so powerful. 4.5 stars. Read more
Published on November 11, 2001 by GARY J HIGGINS
5.0 out of 5 stars Our greatest living composer
As a composer, I'm staggered that anyone could fail to be gripped by this music.
That anyone can use the words "spoiled, overrated" amazes me. Read more
Published on July 22, 2001 by Mr. F. L. Dunkin Wedd
5.0 out of 5 stars Cutting edge music
This disc is extraordinary: the orchestral playing is clean and well recorded, and Gidon Kremer executes the solo part with color and precision. Read more
Published on May 10, 2000 by D. B. Rathbun
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