Adams: On the Transmigration of Souls
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And, while it is a "public" piece, it is one of such "private" introspection that it seems to me that only through the recording medium - and then under the best of circumstances, such as the quietest possible background ambience or, better yet, listening with headphones - can its fullest impact be properly made, if only to establish that every single sound one hears in this work is intended to be there. (I had the opportunity to hear the concert performance of the work when it was webcast. I took a bye at the time, and I'm glad that I did. I feel as if, had I listened then, I would always be wondering whether I was actually listening to the work qua work or to the work under "live audience" conditions, with the distractions such conditions can produce.Read more ›
My advice is that anyone the least bit interested in current music, Adams's in particular, or in having a fitting and moving memorial for those awful events of September 11, need look no further.
Will this work last? Of course, one cannot be sure.Read more ›
The fine qualities above, however, are not enough in my opinion to make this a great MUSICAL work. Great theater with incidental music, yes. What seems to be lacking here is motivic and melodic content, elements that are the most likely to carry the work into future generations.
I agree with the previous reviewer who commented that it was written too soon. The piece is expert reportage of the profound sadness of the moment, but what 9-11 will mean to us as a nation has not yet been played out. Note that Britten's masterpiece had the proper perspective 40+ years after the REAL disaster of the 20th century from which all others flowed, WW1. The upcoming "Dr. Atomic" by Adams may have that perspective, but from the excerpts I've heard so far, the music suffers from the same vacuity of memorability that may prove the undoing of "Transmigration."
The words and the sonic environment carry this work, which I found temporarily moving, but I was left with a hole musically. Perhaps that's what Adams intended metaphorically as a World Trade Center footprint in the ear.
Nevertheless, I am not a completely happy camper, especially for the full list price for only 25 minutes of music and a few nice tiny photos.
In my book, the best music of this kind was composed by Joseph Schwantner, his "New Morning for the World" illustrating the words of Dr. Martin Luther King.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I heard this on Sirius and ended up sitting in my parked car motionless to the very end. Keep in mind that it helps if you already are attuned to minimalism and more contemporary... Read morePublished 2 months ago by B. Foster
The power of this recording excuses its major, grievous fault: It contains only the entire title piece that is 25 minutes long. Read morePublished 22 months ago by Tassinong
You have to let yourself be hypnotized by the music. It is easy. The Buddhists are doing it all the time. You just concentrate on the event behind the music. You visualize it. Read morePublished 23 months ago by Dr Jacques COULARDEAU
anyone who doesn't think this is a moving piece of music, a fitting remembrence if not a tribute to the lost souls of 911 should IMMEDIATELY have their pulse taken. Read morePublished on July 11, 2012 by anders tron-haukebo
A profoundly effective remembrance of 9/11. It is good that music, poetry and other artistic expressions about9/11 are being produced. Read morePublished on October 30, 2011 by Anonymous
I completely disagree with Burton's review, who seems to make a case for Adams "pandering to the public". Read morePublished on October 7, 2011 by TheReviewSystem
John Adams wrote _On the Transmigration of Souls_ for the NY Phil, to honor the memory of the Sept 11 victims. It's 25 minutes long. Read morePublished on October 27, 2009 by Veteran Reds Fan
"On the Transmigration of Souls" is the most stupendously affecting piece of music I've heard in a very long time. Read morePublished on March 29, 2009 by Gendun
I've always been of the opinion that all's fair in art; the contempt for this work displayed here by certain reviewers thus rings hollow. Read morePublished on August 5, 2008 by Moldyoldie