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Road Movies

John Adams , John Novacek , Rolf Hind , Nicolas Hodges , Leila Josefowicz Audio CD
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)

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Amazon Price New from Used from
MP3 Music, 11 Songs, 2005 $9.49  
Audio CD, 2014 $17.92  
Audio CD, 2004 --  

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Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.

Song Title Time Price
listen  1. Road Movies I. Relaxed Groove 4:54$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  2. Road Movies II. Meditative 5:38$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  3. Road Movies III. 40% Swing 5:00$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  4. Hallelujah Junction - 1st Movement 7:09$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  5. Hallelujah Junction - 2nd Movement 2:35$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  6. Hallelujah Junction - 3rd Movement 6:44$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  7. China Gates 4:34$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  8. American Berserk 6:08$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  9. Phrygian Gates, Part 114:22Album Only
listen10. Phrygian Gates, Part 2 (A System Of Weights And Measures) 3:24$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen11. Phrygian Gates, Part 3 7:29$0.99  Buy MP3 

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Road Movies + John Adams: The Dharma at Big Sur/My Father Knew Charles Ives
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Product Details

  • Performer: John Novacek, Rolf Hind, Nicolas Hodges, Leila Josefowicz
  • Composer: John Adams
  • Audio CD (May 4, 2004)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Nonesuch
  • ASIN: B0001XAO66
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #269,068 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Editorial Reviews

Here is a CD of chamber works by John Adams: Road Movies is for violin and piano, Hallelujah Junction is for two pianos, and the other three works are for solo piano. China Gates, the shortest piece, is simply beautiful: 4-and-a-half minutes of lyricism. American Berserk, the other miniature, is busy, jazzy and rhythmically rich. Hallelujah Junction, for two pianos, is named for a truck stop on the California-Nevada border, but Adams was thinking more of the area's past, filled with gold prospectors. Its 16 minutes are brawny and energetic; sometimes the pianos finish one-another's phrases, sometimes they form big-boned clusters. It goes through a section of plushness before a jagged last movement---it's as varied, Adams seems to be saying, as America's personality. Road Movies begins with a tempi and attitude evocative of driving down a highway, with billboards and dotted landscapes whizzing by; one might hear in the piano part the road and its turns and in the violin, the changing but much-the-same sights. The second movement is lonelier and more severe and the third is part pure minimalism sped up to a point of mania and part boogie-woogie. The CD's longest piece, Phrygian Gates, is peaceful and moody, with moments which alternately swell and ebb; the second movement goes nowhere and seems to be concerned with a tone cluster at time, and the finale is insistent minmalism, staying close enough to its original key at all times to be comfortable while rhythmically keeping us on out toes. The performances are beyond reproach, with Leila Josefowicz and John Novacek particularly splendid in their difficult Road Moves duos, but with very high praise going to the other pianists as well. This may not be everyone's cup of tea, but Adams always catches the attention. --Robert Levine

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars So SImple and Yet so Complex May 13, 2004
By A Customer
Format:Audio CD
I was first introduced to John Adams by my daughter's 15 year- old boyfriend, who is a real fan, and I fell in love with "Century Rolls" and "Shaker Loops." I ending up collecting just about all of his work, and have become a real fan myself. I sent a bunch of friends some of his CD's for Christmas, and one of them sent me word that his new CD was out. I ordered it right away, because I was anxious to hear "China Gates." Wow. A must-have for fans of minimalism, but also makes for great meditation music, as I found that the repetition of harmonic phrases causes the brain to seek alternate pathways.There is a light-heartedness to his composition, yet the cerebral elements are there as well, so it is music that both arrives and departs from traditional minimalism, enough so that the listener is captivated, wondering where the music is going. Buy it!
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great composer with all his influences showing May 21, 2004
Format:Audio CD
What I've come to love about John Adams is the way he borrows from everybody and everything. In many ways, he's the epitome of the Post-Modern composer, because he boldly appropriates other styles and idioms and finds a way to make them his own. This new CD is a prime example of how Adams uses the old to make new. "Road Movies" is clearly the work of John Adams, but the second movement resonates so close to the 2nd movement of the Copland violin sonata that it gives me the shakes. This isn't just a quote or rip-off, but a work that honors a powerful precedent: it's almost a love song to its predecessor. "American Berserk" evokes an array of composers that Adams clearly loves, especially Nancarrow and Ives. "Hallelujah Junction" is a genuinely great tune, with inflections of Gospel and Rock piano playing thrown in to make it tasty. And while this makes my third recording of "Phrygian Gates," I can't complain, as I think it's probably the best work for piano written in the last 25 years. None of these works are "easy" to play, and they're given dynamic performances and crisp recordings, making this CD a unique pleasure.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Silly reviewers! Historical Adams June 13, 2006
Format:Audio CD
What we have here is a hodgepodge of old and (one) new material for piano. "China Gates" and "Phrygian Gates" is actually considered to be Adam's Opus 1, so to find out that his very first mature work does not resound with the same punctuation and feeling that previously works have, like "Harmonielehre" or even the recently released "Naive and Sentimental Music," does not mean that Adams is in anyway losing his "touch" or is begin lose his creative spark. Instead, these two pieces should be listened to and enjoyed for what they represent in terms of John Adams' historical work, or the work which has gotten him to where he is today.

Similarly, "Road Movies" was composed in 1995, "Hallelujah Junction" was composed in 1996, and the newest work, "American Berzerk" was composed in 2003. "Road Movies" is actually a very soothing, contemplative work, but (true) does contain the same expressiveness felt in other works of art by Adams. "Hallelujah Junction" may be the most disappointing piece on the album, but I'm not sure that it's supposed to be taken as seriously as some Adams' fans would like to take it - such as on the level with "On The Transmigration of Souls" or "The Death of Klinghoffer." Adams himself acknowledged that "Hallelujah Junction" is the name of a truck stop on US 395 and that "it was a case of a good title needing a piece, so I obliged by composing this work for two pianos."

No, this isn't Adams' best work, but I definitely think that it surely lives up to his other greatest attempts. Plus, as an album containing solely works composed by Adams for the piano and not for orchestra, this is a nice breather and definitely an excellent addition to one's collection of piano music or for fans of Adams himself.
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