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Adams: On the Transmigration of Souls

3.8 out of 5 stars 49 customer reviews

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Audio CD, August 31, 2004

Editorial Reviews

This is the first recording of Adams's On the Transmigration of Souls (which won the 2003 Pulitzer Prize in music), by the orchestra and conductor that commissioned and premiered it. Adams grips from the start, with a slow buildup of taped mundane city sounds, the obsessively repeated word "missing" superimposed on them. The taped texts are drawn from fragments found on missing person posters, newspaper memorials, and the names of victims of the 9/11 attack. Sometimes the taped voices dominate; at others, the chorus intones the texts; the orchestra an ever-present commentator, its impressionistic harmonies fulfilling Adams’ description of creating a "memory space" where each listener can find a personal response to the events. The orchestra erupts in an overwhelming climax after the words "I wanted to dig him out," managing, in a brief passage, to encompass anger, deep grief, and the enormity of the tragedy. Then it subsides into a long, slow decrescendo overlaid by the quiet recitation of names, as if the souls of the title hover over us. Adams has created music for his time and place that fulfills music's ability to move us. --Dan Davis


The first and still finest work to emerge from the horrors of 9/11, John Adams' 25-minute ''memory space'' interweaves music, choral waves, ambient New York street sounds and the words of victims and family members into a hypnotic, heart-breaking yet transcendent meditation on loss. -- Miami Herald, Lawrence Johnson, July 1st, 2007

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Song Title Time
25:03 Album Only

Product details

  • Orchestra: New York Philharmonic
  • Conductor: Lorin Maazel
  • Composer: John Adams
  • Audio CD (August 31, 2004)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Nonesuch
  • ASIN: B0002JNLNM
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars 49 customer reviews
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #120,793 in CDs & Vinyl (See Top 100 in CDs & Vinyl)
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