Author Topic: Adams' Apple-Cart (John Coolidge, that is!)  (Read 37045 times)

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Offline not edward

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Re: Adams' Apple-Cart (John Coolidge, that is!)
« Reply #120 on: September 27, 2014, 05:50:30 AM »
I think Adams is aware that to a certain extent he has written himself into a corner. That's why he's produced pieces like Absolute Jest, where he's trying to do something different (though this particular work is to my mind an unremitted disaster from start to finish, it's to his credit that he did attempt something different).

I think the best music he's written in the last 10 years is contained in Doctor Atomic, where he's allowed his post-Bergian side to express itself and shown that he can write lyrical, highly chromatic music. It's perhaps a shame that he excised the second movement from the Doctor Atomic Symphony: my view is that this decision considerably truncated the dramatic arc of the work, making the finale far less impactful, not to mention removing some fine music that is otherwise unlikely to be heard in concert.
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Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

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Re: Adams' Apple-Cart (John Coolidge, that is!)
« Reply #121 on: September 27, 2014, 05:39:42 PM »
I think Adams is aware that to a certain extent he has written himself into a corner. That's why he's produced pieces like Absolute Jest, where he's trying to do something different (though this particular work is to my mind an unremitted disaster from start to finish, it's to his credit that he did attempt something different).

I think the best music he's written in the last 10 years is contained in Doctor Atomic, where he's allowed his post-Bergian side to express itself and shown that he can write lyrical, highly chromatic music. It's perhaps a shame that he excised the second movement from the Doctor Atomic Symphony: my view is that this decision considerably truncated the dramatic arc of the work, making the finale far less impactful, not to mention removing some fine music that is otherwise unlikely to be heard in concert.

Overall, your post aligns with what has gelled as my Adams thesis: a composer capable of genuinely good work, but upon whom you cannot rely to make the most artistic decision.

Doctor Atomic . . . I heard it at Symphony Hall, the Symphony. I fear it struck me only as B.A.U. Adams.
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Ken B

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Re: Adams' Apple-Cart (John Coolidge, that is!)
« Reply #122 on: September 28, 2014, 06:26:31 AM »
Overall, your post aligns with what has gelled as my Adams thesis: a composer capable of genuinely good work, but upon whom you cannot rely to make the most artistic decision.

Doctor Atomic . . . I heard it at Symphony Hall, the Symphony. I fear it struck me only as B.A.U. Adams.
BAU?

Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

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Re: Adams' Apple-Cart (John Coolidge, that is!)
« Reply #123 on: September 28, 2014, 07:39:41 AM »
Business As Usual
Karl Henning, Ph.D.
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[Matisse] was interested neither in fending off opposition,
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Ken B

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Re: Adams' Apple-Cart (John Coolidge, that is!)
« Reply #124 on: September 28, 2014, 07:56:27 AM »
Business As Usual
Ah. Yeah, that sums it up pretty well.

Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Adams' Apple-Cart (John Coolidge, that is!)
« Reply #125 on: September 28, 2014, 08:07:50 AM »
There's nothing worse than BAU Adams...lol. :)
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Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

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Re: Adams' Apple-Cart (John Coolidge, that is!)
« Reply #126 on: September 28, 2014, 08:11:10 AM »
A professor whom I assisted while doing my Master's at UVa had a sign on his office door: "Sometimes I just riff."
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Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Adams' Apple-Cart (John Coolidge, that is!)
« Reply #127 on: September 28, 2014, 09:25:14 AM »
A professor whom I assisted while doing my Master's at UVa had a sign on his office door: "Sometimes I just riff."

 :P
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Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

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Re: Adams' Apple-Cart (John Coolidge, that is!)
« Reply #128 on: October 28, 2014, 03:46:43 AM »
. . . Not only that but there are many other works in Adams' oeuvre that deserve some attention in terms of recordings like Harmonium for example, which only has two recordings if I'm not mistaken (Waart/ECM and Adams/Nonesuch).

I discovered the disc obliquely (I was looking for the Oliver Knussen/ASKO Ensemble recording of Louis Andriessen's De snelheid) . . . but this also has Harmonium (BBC National Orchestra & Chorus Of Wales, Bournemouth Symphony Chorus, Grant Llewellyn):
Karl Henning, Ph.D.
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Offline not edward

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Re: Adams' Apple-Cart (John Coolidge, that is!)
« Reply #129 on: October 28, 2014, 04:50:07 AM »
I have that disc... sitting in a box somewhere.

Anyway, for those who are interested, the original, four-movement Doctor Atomic Symphony, with the LSO conducted by the composer:

https://mega.co.nz/#!DIoAkb7b!OIpGvglMiZZ2DSb7hHgs3N83kC2dNhTjEOmHzIoxWl8
"I don't at all mind actively disliking a piece of contemporary music, but in order to feel happy about it I must consciously understand why I dislike it. Otherwise it remains in my mind as unfinished business."
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Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

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Re: Adams' Apple-Cart (John Coolidge, that is!)
« Reply #130 on: October 28, 2014, 04:54:50 AM »
Thanks!  I shall look into that when I am home this evening.
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Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Adams' Apple-Cart (John Coolidge, that is!)
« Reply #131 on: October 28, 2014, 06:30:38 AM »
I discovered the disc obliquely (I was looking for the Oliver Knussen/ASKO Ensemble recording of Louis Andriessen's De snelheid) . . . but this also has Harmonium (BBC National Orchestra & Chorus Of Wales, Bournemouth Symphony Chorus, Grant Llewellyn):

Very nice, Karl. I would love to hear your opinion of the performance once you listen to it.
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Offline lescamil

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Re: Adams' Apple-Cart (John Coolidge, that is!)
« Reply #132 on: October 28, 2014, 06:34:39 AM »
I bought that disk years ago, and only for a performance of Louis Andriessen's De Snelheid, which is supposedly the piece John Adams was thinking of when he wrote Short Ride in a Fast Machine. It would make sense, given that they both have an incessant woodblock throughout the piece, and speed is a key element (de snelheid translates to "velocity"). The performance on this CD is a bit sloppy, but I've spoken with Andriessen before, and he says that this performance is just how he likes it. He says he prefers a rougher, more visceral performance of his works. Buuuuut, this thread isn't about Andriessen...
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Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

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Re: Adams' Apple-Cart (John Coolidge, that is!)
« Reply #133 on: October 31, 2014, 06:15:49 PM »
I bought that disk years ago, and only for a performance of Louis Andriessen's De Snelheid, which is supposedly the piece John Adams was thinking of when he wrote Short Ride in a Fast Machine. It would make sense, given that they both have an incessant woodblock throughout the piece, and speed is a key element (de snelheid translates to "velocity"). The performance on this CD is a bit sloppy, but I've spoken with Andriessen before, and he says that this performance is just how he likes it. He says he prefers a rougher, more visceral performance of his works. Buuuuut, this thread isn't about Andriessen...

I must revisit De snelheid, but I recall thinking much better of it than of A Short Ride.

Edward, thanks again: will give that a listen this weekend.

Separately, I find (much to my surprise) that I have Klinghoffer, complete. I've not listened to it complete, just to the odd chorus. Someday I shall listen to it; but not this season.
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Re: Adams' Apple-Cart (John Coolidge, that is!)
« Reply #134 on: October 31, 2014, 07:10:13 PM »
I must revisit De snelheid, but I recall thinking much better of it than of A Short Ride.

Edward, thanks again: will give that a listen this weekend.

Separately, I find (much to my surprise) that I have Klinghoffer, complete. I've not listened to it complete, just to the odd chorus. Someday I shall listen to it; but not this season.

Save for a rainy day; sometimes they need ruining too.

Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

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Re: Adams' Apple-Cart (John Coolidge, that is!)
« Reply #135 on: November 01, 2014, 05:23:24 AM »
Nice!

I do foresee a long stretch where I simply have things I'd rather do than devote a couple of hours to static Kling.
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Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

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Re: Adams' Apple-Cart (John Coolidge, that is!)
« Reply #137 on: December 05, 2014, 01:32:26 PM »
This week I've been re-visiting El Niño, and it was ultimately a worthwhile endeavor.  My opinion, my ears, but the piece still fits my "Adams model" of [some genuinely excellent work] mitigated by both [stretches of BAU (business as usual)] and [But does it seal the deal as an Overall Composition?]

So, what was good about the process was, that the long stretches, entire numbers, which (basically) soon grow uninteresting to me (and never quite recover), I endured, and found the odd number in the whole which is Adams at his best (it happens too seldom, but it does happen).  A fellow composer really likes this piece, and now I can have a reasonably informed conversation with him about it.

I may not come back to this for another two or three years;  and there is still the question Were even the best bits worth the tooth-pulling?  Not sure that there was actual redemption.  But I did discover some excellent Adams hidden away amid all the dross.
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Offline Archaic Torso of Apollo

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Re: Adams' Apple-Cart (John Coolidge, that is!)
« Reply #138 on: January 26, 2015, 12:33:04 PM »
Is Harmonielehre becoming standard rep? Grant Park and the CSO are both doing it this year. Respectively, in August (Kalmar) and in October (Salonen). I can't decide whether to go to one or the other or both!
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Re: Adams' Apple-Cart (John Coolidge, that is!)
« Reply #139 on: January 26, 2015, 12:47:57 PM »
Is Harmonielehre becoming standard rep? Grant Park and the CSO are both doing it this year. Respectively, in August (Kalmar) and in October (Salonen). I can't decide whether to go to one or the other or both!

I would go see Salonen in a heartbeat!
"Works of art create rules; rules do not create works of art." - Claude Debussy