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Adams: Harmonium; The Klinghoffer Choruses

2.9 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Harmonium/Choruses from The Death Of Klinghoffer Amazon Music Unlimited
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Audio CD, June 20, 2000
$37.95 $12.32

Editorial Reviews

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If anything, this disc conveys John Adams's ability to make the difficult sound simple and easy. It also extends Nonesuch's tendency to issue rerecordings that appear first in box sets. Harmonium came out in 1984 on an ECM disc, played by the same ensemble but under the direction of Edo de Waart, with whom Adams developed a fruitful working relationship in the late 1970s. The Klinghoffer Choruses simply excerpts the Nonesuch recording of the opera. Both can be found in the John Adams Earbox, the sort of collection that the label has already lavished on Steve Reich.

What makes this disc sound simple is the composer's tasteful West Coast minimalism--its listener-friendly impatience with unvarying repetition; spare, keyboards-enhanced instrumentation; and generally mellow sound. Harmonium remains Adams's breakthrough work, his first big statement of consonant harmony. He became famous with it. What Adams makes apparently easy is the bringing together--the harmonizing, if you will--of disparate parts: very personal lyric poetry by two very different writers, John Donne and Emily Dickinson, sung by a choral group rather than soloists. And it works. Like the Nonesuch recording of Philip Glass's Einstein on the Beach, the new Harmonium has been lovingly performed, but necessarily lacks something of the brazenness, the unexpected quality of the earlier one, the sense of having to prove itself. The choruses from the "CNN opera" The Death of Klinghoffer (certainly a tough subject) slow down stage action significantly; they're more effective on their own. Highly chromatic, delicate, and melancholy, these two works showcase Adams's thoughtful side, and remain unabashedly beautiful. --Robert Burns Neveldine

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Product details

  • Performer: San Francisco Symphony Chorus, London Opera Chorus
  • Orchestra: San Francisco Symphony, Lyon National Opera Orchestra
  • Conductor: John Adams, Kent Nagano
  • Composer: John Adams
  • Audio CD (June 20, 2000)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Nonesuch
  • ASIN: B000025AQL
  • Average Customer Review: 2.9 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #13,407 in CDs & Vinyl (See Top 100 in CDs & Vinyl)
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September 19, 2014
Format: Audio CD|Verified Purchase
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June 26, 2000
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June 24, 2000
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