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John Adams: Naive & Sentimental Music


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Audio CD, July 30, 2002
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Song Title Time Price
listen  1. I. Naive And Sentimental Music18:10Album Only
listen  2. II. Mother Of The Man15:08Album Only
listen  3. III. Chain To The Rhythm10:54Album Only

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Product Details

  • Orchestra: Los Angeles Philharmonic
  • Conductor: Esa-Pekka Salonen
  • Composer: John Adams
  • Audio CD (July 30, 2002)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Nonesuch
  • ASIN: B00005UW1A
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #214,723 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

John Adams ~ Naive and Sentimental Music - John Adams

Amazon.com

Dedicated to conductor (and fellow composer) Esa-Pekka Salonen, John Adams's Naïve and Sentimental Music is an awe-inspiring work of ambitious scope. It seeks to tackle the polarity between the naïve and the sentimental artist (the former oblivious to her place in nature, the latter preoccupied with location in the order of things) and uses wild juxtapositions to advance Adams's investigation. A wafting flute and harp open the three-part, 44-minute piece, but they are overcome by lurching brass, rumbling percussion, reedy woodwinds, and a palpable urgency. The second movement, "Mother of the Man," is, by vivid contrast, an almost ambient piece, floating on broad-stroked violins, bowed vibraphone, bell-struck percussion, and David Tannenbaum's textured guitar work. And then comes the final movement, "Chain to the Rhythm," the most recognizably minimalist excursion in what amounts to a symphony--in every way but its name. Cells of sound, oboes, cellos, vibraphones jut out as clarinets oscillate and twitter. There's a shimmer, a stammering vibrational effect, and a return to the first movement's growing urgency. Has the naïve artist discovered, anxiety-ridden, the insurmountable pressure of the sentimental artist? It's for the composer to know and the listener to find out. In any event, Naïve and Sentimental Music stands out singularly as Adams's most astonishing large-scale instrumental work, a piece that demands repeated listens and never disappoints. --Andrew Bartlett

Customer Reviews

Unfortunately, Naive and Sentimental Music confirms this observation.
svf
I know this must seem over-the-top, but I think I can recommend this recording to anyone interested in the symphony orchestra, without reservation.
Daniel Johnson
I heard the piece for the first time aftering buying the album and just 'going for it' as I like to say.
M. Fant

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

25 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Grady Harp HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on August 26, 2002
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
John Adams has been gathering increasing audiences since his earliest works which were applauded more because of their originality than because of their innate musicality. Early works like 'Shaker Loops' led to the Opera 'Nixon in China' and while that opera drew large appreciative audiences because of the topic, it still was up to Adams to prove himself a durable, growing composer of lasting classical music. In this remarkable recording of NAIVE AND SENTIMENTAL MUSIC, commissioned by the orchestra and conductor who perform it here (Esa-Pekka Salonen and the LA Phil), we finally have a symphonic work that stands very tall as pure music. No need for a chorus or vocal soloists( as in the magnificent 'Harmonium' based on the poetry of Emily Dickenson, or 'El Nino', his oratorio for the Christmas season or 'The Wound Dresser' which is perhaps the most brilliant setting of Walt Whitman ever conceived): this is simply grand orchestral work. The opening measures draw us into the cradling effect of folk tunes, but that effect blossoms into a complex and colorful flight of fancy. The second movement is an elegy of quiet beauty and the last movement restates some of Adams earlier writing motifs but gradually binds these together into a electrifying explosion of blatantly romantic sound. Salonen and the LA Phil play this score as if to the music born - which in this case is reality! Excellent sonics and depth of range on the recording make the entire experience of getting to know this masterpiece a complete joy.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By jos on February 23, 2003
Format: Audio CD
I guess I might be alone in my perception of John Adams' Naive and Sentimental music, but I shall say more about that later.
I heard this extraordinary music on the radio (only some 4 minutes of the first part's middle section) and I was instantly hooked. I searched the radio station's website the next day to discover what they were playing and I discovered an artist I never heard of before, but who is actually a very important figure in contemporary classical music as I learned soon. When I got the CD I discovered a whole new musical world, somewhere between tonal romanticism, minimalistic "repetitive" building layers of music and "atonal" (I don't belive there is such thing)contemporary composition.
Postmodern modernism could be the word.
So, back to the title of this review. The massive, "alienated" music, that reminds at times of "american" film-score classics, with strong dark tones, powerful outbursts of energy and sparkling, floating parts of music with "elvish" (since we're in the age of Lord of the Rings histeria - which I approve somehow)
undernotes. So, what is the artist trying to say? He moved me to some other state of counciousness and inspired visual worlds coherent with the design of the CD, which somehow transport me to some endless, dreamy "Americana" dream(land)scape similar to Jarmush's Dead Man movie setting and atmosphere.
Great work by Esa Pekka Salonen and LA Philly.
I wish Adams would venture even further into those "twilight" realms and maybe abandon the "layering principle" in favour of more rhytmically and sylistically diverse principles as exemplified by Stravinsky and other greats of symphonic invention. But I deeply admire his melodic invention and orchestration ideas. Go beyond, if you read this Mr.Adams.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Daniel Johnson on August 6, 2002
Format: Audio CD
This is the finest orchestral writing of John Adams' career. I have to agree with the newspaper critic who commented that while there are no real departures here from the familiar Adams voice (as heard in Harmonielehre, Nixon in China, the Violin Concerto, etc.), all of the expected tricks of melody, rhythm, harmony, and orchestration are delivered with an unprecedented mastery and assuredness, and on a grand new scale.
The performance is perfect as well. Salonen brings out the sharp, modern edges of the piece without sacrificing grace, subtlety, or tenderness of feeling. I know this must seem over-the-top, but I think I can recommend this recording to anyone interested in the symphony orchestra, without reservation.
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15 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Jeff Abell on September 5, 2002
Format: Audio CD
Ah, John Adams! I've been tracking this dude's work since I lived in Berkeley in the mid-70s, and it really hasn't let me down yet. I heard Adams conduct this piece with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra a couple of years ago, and it was like sitting in front of a 747 taking off! The first and last movements are filled with intense, complex patterns and textures that change kaleidoscopically, while the middle movement is gentle, featuring a loping electric guitar solo. Esa-Pekka Salonen and the LA Phil give this a phenomenally tight reading that renders all the complex textures in high relief. I felt I understood the piece better from this recording than from hearing it live. Elegant packaging from Nonesuch, and an insightful essay by Ingram Marshall add to the pleasure of this recording.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By M. Fant on May 15, 2004
Format: Audio CD
Somehow, Adams does it. I heard the piece for the first time aftering buying the album and just 'going for it' as I like to say. I had heard of Adams in a magazine, but never heard anything besides "Short Ride in a Fast Machine." So I had an idea of what I was getting into, but no clue as to how amazing it truly would be. I didn't expect the music to be as mature as it sounds - after all the title is "Naive.. Sentimental." I expected something more subdued or at least subtle. The second movement may pass as subdued or subtle - but the other two are rides, be sure to hang on. It's good music, it really is - it's good stuff that you need to look into.
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