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Penguin Guide, January 2009

This Naxos recording of John Adams’s ‘song play’, set to a remarkably imaginative libretto by June Jordan, is a complete revelation, showing it to be an undoubted masterpiece, an intriguing amalgam of opera and musical, drawing on all kinds of sources, but in the main extending the style of musical pioneered by Bernstein. It is a true crossover work, and its basic parlando style, laced with set pieces, is all Adam’s own. The work is inspired by the 1994 Californian earthquake. The piece centres on seven everyday characters, all young people from Los Angeles, of varying social and ethnic backgrounds and Adams’s set numbers bring outstanding lyrical inspirations.

Peter Rabinowitz
Fanfare, November 2006

Adams is often typecast as a ”minimalist“; Marc-Andre Hamelin has, with even more damaging consequences, often been typecast as a virtuoso specializing in the Transcendental Arcane. Those who want to hear how he does in more mainstream Romantic repertoire could hardly do better than to sample his new Schumann recording, featuring exceptionally lucid performances of three standards—performances that show off, in equal measure, the creativity of composer and the interpretive sensitivity of the pianist, undeniably amonth the handful of great performers of his generation.

Classic FM, December 2005

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