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Mark Sullivan
All About Jazz, June 2017

Become Ocean is a stunningly beautiful, immersive experience, utilizing an orchestra divided into three distinct sections. The three groups each follow their own rhythms, eventually coming together at the peak of three massive crescendo-like waves. I was fortunate to hear it performed live at the 2016 Big Ears Festival, and had no doubt that its 2014 Pulitzer Prize award for music was well deserved. No recording could completely do it justice, but this performance by the Seattle Symphony under the direction of Ludovic Morlot was good enough to win the 2015 Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Classical Composition. © 2017 All About Jazz




Mel Martin
Audiophile Audition, February 2015

…I really liked Become Ocean. One can sit back and become immersed in this music, and come out all the better for the time invested. It’s certainly not a traditional piece of music, but if you are at all open to new musical experiences, let Adams help you Become Ocean, a title that made sense after I listened to this interesting work. © 2015 Audiophile Audition Read complete review



Tom Schnabel
KCRW Music Blog, February 2015

Become Ocean is a massive tidal wave of sound on the order of Terry Riley, Steve Reich, Brian Eno, or an audio Mark Rothko, for that matter. It reminds me of the overture to Richard Wagner’s Das Rheingold, except that its sonic layering is even more dramatic. Building and building…and building, it just keeps coming at you in waves. The sound is, at times, so immense and dramatic that it really is almost overwhelming to listen to.

I’ll now invite all of you to be swept away by the giant, awe-inspiring teahupo’o-like swells of John Luther Adams’ Become Ocean. © 2015 KCRW Music Blog Read complete review



Giacomo Fiore
San Francisco Classical Voice, January 2015

The recording itself is flawless, both in the execution by the Seattle Symphony under Ludovic Morlot’s direction, and in audio production. …Become Ocean is a work of immense and hypnotic power. Highly recommended for listeners on all parts of the music spectrum. © 2015 San Francisco Classical Voice Read complete review



Grant Chu Covell
La Folia, January 2015

Three cheers for Cantaloupe Music! As a 42-minute span of lushly maintained orchestral music continually cresting and ebbing, the music is not without merit. Certainly the massiveness impresses.

The piece’s title and booklet quote force serious reflection: All humanity is doomed to drown as the oceans reclaim the planet we’ve destroyed. Become Ocean is actually rarely dark, as if we should readily embrace our impending watery demise. The planet might actually be a nice place once we’re all gone. © 2015 La Folia Read complete review



Robert Carl
Fanfare, January 2015

…the Seattle Symphony…and its French conductor, Ludovic Morlot, are to be saluted for their vision and courage, as well as this wonderful performance.

…I want to say that Become Ocean has the potential to be a genuine repertoire item, which ranks as the highest compliment I can give. It’s unlike anything you’ve ever heard for orchestra, even though it connects to many antecedent and tangential works. The piece is also deeply connected to environmental concerns without being overtly preachy. My admiration for the composer only grows. [Adams has] figured out a way to make the American “maverick” tradition cool for a new audience, and we all should be grateful. © 2015 Fanfare Read complete review



Raymond Tuttle
Fanfare, January 2015

…I am going to give a thumbs-up to conductor Morlot and the Seattle Symphony and leave it at that. I like it a lot. © 2015 Fanfare Read complete review




Kate Wakeling
BBC Music Magazine, January 2015

A tumultuous single-movement work for large orchestra that affirms music’s capacity to shift our very state of being, while also conveying an urgent and unsentimental message. © 2014 BBC Music Magazine



Stephen J. Nereffid
Music is Good, December 2014

Top 15 New Classical of 2014: Stephen J. Nereffid

A vast, slowly rolling orchestral work that perfectly lives up to its title. I’ve heard it described by a baffled listener as “nothing happens”, which is correct only if you think that nothing happens in an ocean. It won this year’s Pulitzer Prize for music, which I guess in and of itself means little, but “Become Ocean” has the air of an instant classic about it. © 2014 Music in Good



George Grella
The Big City, December 2014

Best Classical Recordings of 2014

A welcome Pulitzer Prize winning composition that actually deserves the award, a concentrated culmination of JLA’s strengths as a composer. The recording is also superior to the live performance at Carnegie Hall in May, where the piano part was buried under the orchestral textures. © 2014 The Big City



Ted Gioia
The Daily Beast, December 2014

The Best Albums of 2014

John Luther Adams lives up to the title of his composition, capturing an oceanic torrent of sound in an awe-inspiring performance. © 2014 The Daily Beast Read complete review



Anastasia Tsioulcas
National Public Radio, December 2014

Best Classical Albums Of 2014

This is the piece of classical music of 2014 that has crossed over to a mainstream audience, and rightly so. Put it on speakers and people will stop what they’re doing to say, “What is this? I love it!” Written as a meditation on rising—and ultimately all-consuming—tides, Adams has created a work that is both an orchestral showpiece and a completely haunting inner journey. The Seattle Symphony should be hugely proud of having commissioned Become Ocean and their stellar performance under conductor Ludovic Morlot. © 2014 National Public Radio



Pwyll ap SiƓn
Gramophone, November 2014

This is not ersatz programmatic music… Adams’s ‘sonic geography’ is a by-product of what can only be described as a keenly felt musical osmosis. If ever an orchestra sounded like an immense sonic object, slowly floating across a vast area, then this must be it. © 2014 Gramophone Read complete review on Gramophone



Grego Applegate Edwards
Gapplegate Classical-Modern Music Review, October 2014

The Seattle Symphony under Ludovic Morlot…give us a very atmospheric reading that seems just right.

It is mystical, haunting, filled with epic sea-as-cosmos audio that will put you in a very different place.

Highly recommended. © 2014 Gapplegate Classical-Modern Music Review Read complete review




Steven A. Kennedy
Cinemusical, October 2014

The music does draw you in as its soundscapes shimmer and shift across the span of time of the work. And it moves quietly back to nothingness. One cannot help but be a bit overcome by the work’s massive scale.

It does take a lot for a modern composer to create a work of this magnitude…and we can be thankful that the Seattle Symphony was able to provide support for this work. That their conductor also has demonstrated the perfect connections to the musical approaches here certainly help make the piece come alive in this superb recording. © 2014 Cinemusical Read complete review



Chris Morgan
Scene Magazine, October 2014

If symmetry is a desired quality in music, then Become Ocean provides a satisfying intellectual and aesthetic synthesis…the piece also hints at the depths of the ocean’s wondrous complexity, as well as the prolific life on the planet it simultaneously endangers and supports. Music as vast and mighty as the sea. © 2014 Scene Magazine Read complete review



Anastasia Tsioulcas
National Public Radio, September 2014

Become Ocean ushers you in and swallows you up. It’s gorgeous, darkly beautiful and ultimately unsettling.

Led by conductor Ludovic Morlot, the performance is powerful and empathetic, enhanced by crisp sound that makes even the smallest harp and piano arpeggios stand out pointillistically against lush washes of brass and strings. © 2014 National Public Radio Read complete review




David Hurwitz
ClassicsToday.com, September 2014

…this is what you have: an essay in harmony, texture, and dynamics…a sonic sculpture that is quite captivating and very easy to listen to.

Surely the composer deserves…[this performance from] the excellent and hard-working musicians of the Seattle Symphony under the capable baton of Ludovic Morlot…I can recommend the music wholeheartedly… © 2014 ClassicsToday.com Read complete review





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