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El Dorado/Black gondola

Adams , Liszt , Busoni Audio CD
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (October 15, 1996)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Nonesuch
  • ASIN: B000005J3A
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #296,192 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. El Dorado: Part I - A Dream of Gold
2. El Dorado: Part II - Soledades
3. Berceuse elegiaque (des Mannes Wiegenlied am Sarge seiner Mutter)
4. The Black Gondola

Editorial Reviews

John Adams's El Dorado is in some ways program music, with a twist. It's an imaginary accompaniment, he writes in the liner essay, to a diptych with the unmolested nature of the New World in one panel and that same world with man in it in the other panel. Certainly Adams's characterization of the piece's drama is apt, as it indeed bursts with fierceness at exactly the point where man comes to believe in dominating and subjugating nature, where any hint of the romantic tradition crashes headlong into a more radical revision of both minimalism and percussion-charged late-20th-century orchestration. The piece is aimed at the same subject occupying so many composers in 1992, the collision of worlds 500 years earlier in the Americas. Adams follows this big, broad-shouldered work with an orchestration of Franz Liszt's La Lugubre Gondola and a reduced arrangement of Ferruccio Busoni's Berceuse Élégiaque. Both are funereal works, elegiac in their temperament and brimming with a dramatic depth that compliments El Dorado's rises and crashing falls beautifully. --Andrew Bartlett

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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars wickedness to the fifth power April 25, 1999
By A Customer
Format:Audio CD
El Dorado is the epitome of all the power in the universe. It is packed full of extremes. I can not even begin to explain how incredibly rich in texture and rhythm this piece is. The piccolos and E flat clarinets are in their upper registers and the bassoons and bass clarinets rip it up in their lower registers. It is a journey through a jungle that you wish would never end. If you like Hindemith or Philip Glass, I would really recomend this little number.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A welcome addition to the canon of John Adams May 3, 2003
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
John Adams' EL DORADO is a brief 30 minute work of searing impact. Anytime a composer deals with 'in the beginning' motifs, he/she is destined to be compared to Stravinsky's RITE OF SPRING. In the instance of Adams' vision of paradise both before and after the inclusion of Man the comparison is apt. This powerful two movement piece recorded in 1996 underscores the composers increasing infatuation with ends - both of man and of the universe. Though not plunging into the abyss this music definitely has the tenor of elegy for the past and fear for the future. This preoccupation with death is certainly evident in the other two works included on this CD: Adams' orcestrations of the Liszt Tristanesque "The Black Gondola" and Busoni's "Berceuse elegiaque". Given the inherent beauty in these two works Adams has 'interpreted' them with his own sumptious quality of orchestration and both pieces are stunningly elegiac and tender and disappear into the mists that so motivate Adams' current works. This is a beautiful collection of music with something for all those who are appreciating the ongoing musical output of this contemporary genius. Incidentally, the accompanying 'brochure' thankfully is devoted to John Adams' note on the works recorded. Very lovely writing, both as literature and as music.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply great inspired music making, Seven Stars! April 10, 1999
By A Customer
Format:Audio CD
This is all great music I'd like to give it seven stars. Adams is simply the best orchestrator around inheriting irrevocably Stravinsky's trust assets. "El Dorado" here you might think is a few feet away from movie music. So what! it is an inspired orchestral sound that does something and provides food for our imaginations. The opening mystery of the simplistic use of the maraca with intervals of punctuation(marimba & bassoon) is sheer restrained power. Adams does have structural problems however for he spends himself quickly, Why?, and we are left hanging with some of the fortunes of his previous music thrown in. I begin to hear the crowd(the musicians) gathering,the music becomes more clangorous and busy. Adams simply doesn't have control of density at all times. The Europeans know about density, but then they pay for it with a lack of momentum and direct communication. The two orchestrations are also great inspirations and perhaps a new genre on the postmodern scene, arrangements of objects that beg arranging. We need some new genre in music every ten years. Busoni was also a consummate colorist and like Adams was a transitional figure. I sense an intimate dialogue here which is what a good arrangement should be. The Listz as well is a challenge to orchestrate effectively. But then Adams chooses well, for Listz's music does have a timbral openness which invites this kind of realization.
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