John ADAMS – 3 orchestral works

‘My relationship with John Adams goes back more than three decades to when I began my tenure at the Cabrillo Music Festival in California. We worked on dozens of pieces together and John and his wife Deborah O’Grady set up a young composer initiative to support emerging talents.

I began programming John’s music everywhere I conducted, and we soon became fast friends. Sharing his music with the ORF Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra felt like the natural outgrowth of this important musical and personal connection, and their genuine enjoyment is evident in their spectacular playing on this recording. With John’s music, groove is essential and these three pieces embody that statement.

When I decided, after 25 years, to leave the Cabrillo Festival, the musicians of the orchestra commissioned John to write a short piece for me. The result – Lola Montez Does the Spider Dance – debuts on this recording. Like everything John composes, it is filled with humour, heart and brilliance.’

Marin Alsop

John Adams’ music has long since captured the admiration of listeners for its inimitable American qualities. City Noir was inspired by the cultural and social history of Los Angeles, with Adams calling it ‘an imaginary film score’ in its evocation of a terse, melodramatic and menace-drenched sound world. Fearful Symmetries exemplifies Adams’ steamroller motor rhythms, endlessly inventive in their shifts of timbre, texture and color. The album ends with a work dedicated to Marin Alsop, a capricious “Spider Dance” of memorable rhythmic drive.

Listen to an extract from Fearful Symmetries
About the Artists

One of the foremost conductors of our time, Marin Alsop represents a powerful and inspiring voice. The 2023/24 season marks her fifth as chief conductor of the ORF Vienna RSO; her first as artistic director and chief conductor of the Polish National Radio Symphony; and her first as principal guest conductor of London’s Philharmonia Orchestra. She will begin a new position as principal guest conductor of The Philadelphia Orchestra in the 2024/25 season. She is also chief conductor of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra residency at the Ravinia Festival.

The ORF Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra is a paragon of Viennese orchestral tradition. Known for its exceptional programming, the orchestra combines 19th-century repertoire with contemporary works and rarely performed pieces from other periods. All the orchestra’s performances are broadcast on the radio and it performs in two subscription series in Vienna, in the Musikverein Wien and the Wiener Konzerthaus. It also enjoys a successful collaboration with the MusikTheater an der Wien and is equally at home in the film music genre.

More albums of music by John Adams
Nixon in China

Orth • Kanyova • Hammons • Heller • Dahl • Yuan
Colorado Symphony Orchestra • Alsop
‘[The singers] are propelled by conductor Marin Alsop’s immaculate grasp of the score ... the recording is a superb documentation of one of the decade’s most memorable productions.’
STL Today
ADAMS, J.: Violin Concerto
CORIGLIANO, J.: Red Violin ‘Chaconne’

Hanslip • Royal Philharmonic Orchestra • Slatkin
‘This might be one of Naxos’s best recordings ever.’
I was looking at the ceiling and then I saw the sky

Soloists • The Band of Holst-Sinfonietta • Simon
‘This Naxos recording of John Adams’ ‘song play’ ... 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.’
Penguin Guide
‘If you are seeking an introduction to the music of John Adams, you cannot better this splendidly played anthology from Marin Alsop and the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, vividly recorded within an ideal acoustic.’
Penguin Guide

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