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Full Operas - Released June 29, 2018 | Nonesuch

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Gramophone Editor's Choice - Choc de Classica - 5 Sterne Fono Forum Klassik
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Classical - Released May 4, 2018 | Chandos

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - Special Soundchecks
Absolute Jest, written in 2011 and revised a little later, is one of John Adams's most irresistible works. The composer borrows liberally from Beethoven, from the quartets but also the Ninth Symphony, to distil a furious, sumptuously-orchestrated score – alongside a solo string quartet, which could render the work a sort of concerto, Adams has added a harp and a piano, both tuned according to the meantone temperament, a way of blending tones and sounds together – which is rich in allusions ("tattoos", in Adams's phrase) to Ludwig van. The final movement, however, makes no bones about its debt to Stravinsky's Symphony in Three Movements. Highly original, Absolute Jest was written for Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Orchestra (a Qobuzissime of summer 2015), but the evidence is that every new performance uncovers new facets of the work. The same applies to Naïve and Sentimental Music, written for the Los Angeles Philharmonic (and there exists a superb recording of it, by Salonen with Nonesuch); note though that the score is neither naïve nor sentimental, but ferocious and original; the title is surely a borrowing from Schiller (Über naive und sentimentalische Dichtung), which classified Shakespeare and Homer as "naïve" poets. Among some slightly unusual sounds, the listener will note an electric guitar and a piano linked to a sampler… © SM/Qobuz
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Opera - Released November 1, 1996 | Nonesuch

Booklet Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
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Violin Concertos - Released April 27, 2018 | Nonesuch

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - Gramophone Editor's Choice
In 1994 John Adams composed his Violin Concerto, a work of breath-taking virtuosity written in an exhilarating and strongly rhythmic tone, sign that it was partly conceived for the New York City Ballet; even if the first movement is somewhat reminiscent − with its dreamlike atmosphere as well as fluid and elusive harmonies – of Berg’s Violin Concerto. It’s worth noting that the orchestra, in addition to its traditional elements, features a strong percussion section as well as two synthesisers that further add to the piece’s dreamlike and uncharted hue. That same year, violinist Leila Josefowicz (born in 1977) made her debut at Carnegie Hall in a concerto by Tchaikovsky conducted by Marriner: a big leap into what was to become an established international career. And it’s precisely for Josefowicz, small world indeed, that Adams wrote his dramatic symphony Scheherazade.2 for violin and orchestra: the bond between the soloist and the master is undeniably strong, and her interpretation couldn’t be more faithful to Adam’s original idea. © SM/Qobuz
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Classical - Released February 12, 2007 | Nonesuch

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
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Symphonic Music - Released August 12, 2015 | San Francisco Symphony

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Qobuzissime
Absolute Jest, performed for the first time in 2012 by the San Francisco Orchestra and its leader Michael Tilson Thomas, implies both buffoonery and great fun through its title. The listener may well be wondering what to expect! Well, for some twenty minutes Adams powers an unlikely scherzo, one charged with mad energy, provided by a warring orchestra and a solo string quartet. Here the piece is reminiscent of the fiercest Beethoven quartets. Other homage is paid to the great Ludwig; there is the stubborn dotted rhythm that characterizes the first movement of the Seventh Symphony, and also the scherzo of the Ninth, which Adams borrows alongside Beethoven’s signature timpani. On hearing Absolute Jest, one notes that the score is full of Adamsian rhythmic crannies that call to mind his simply devilish complications. A much older work, the Grand Pianola Music of 1982 uses two pianos (not Pianolas as the title may suggest; it is a sly Adamsian joke), wind instruments, three female voices singing without words, and percussion. The composer developed his own brand of minimalism; a minimalism in which the music is clearly partitioned, exploding outwards in all directions. Musical cells are constantly moving, and ruptures come forth constantly to unsettle the listener. This recording is led by Adams himself, with Marc-André Hamelin and Orli Shaham on the pianos.   Note: Absolute Jest was recorded in 96kHz/24-bit, Grand Pianola Music was recorded in PCM 192kHz/24-bit and both were mastered in 192kHz/24-bit
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Classical - Released November 22, 2005 | Nonesuch

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
The creations of post-classical composers yield a treasure trove for the adventurous ear. John Adams, a West Coast composer, gives the world a wealth of new compositions through the San Francisco orchestra. His post-modern 1991 opera "The Death of Klinghoffer," a modern tale of terrorism, is one such work. The choruses from this modern tale of Middle East mayhem are as powerful as Verdi's mourning of the Jews in "Nabucco." The Nonesuch label brings these choruses with an equally haunting Adams work on "Harmonium/The Klinghoffer Choruses." ~ Tom Schulte
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Classical - Released February 27, 2007 | Nonesuch

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
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Classical - Released December 25, 2006 | Rhino - Warner Bros.

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
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Symphonic Music - Released April 10, 2012 | San Francisco Symphony

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Choc de Classica - Special Soundchecks - La Clef du mois RESMUSICA
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Classical - Released October 27, 2009 | Naxos

Booklet
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Symphonic Music - Released August 12, 2015 | San Francisco Symphony

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Qobuzissime
Absolute Jest, performed for the first time in 2012 by the San Francisco Orchestra and its leader Michael Tilson Thomas, implies both buffoonery and great fun through its title. The listener may well be wondering what to expect! Well, for some twenty minutes Adams powers an unlikely scherzo, one charged with mad energy, provided by a warring orchestra and a solo string quartet. Here the piece is reminiscent of the fiercest Beethoven quartets. Other homage is paid to the great Ludwig; there is the stubborn dotted rhythm that characterizes the first movement of the Seventh Symphony, and also the scherzo of the Ninth, which Adams borrows alongside Beethoven’s signature timpani. On hearing Absolute Jest, one notes that the score is full of Adamsian rhythmic crannies that call to mind his simply devilish complications. A much older work, the Grand Pianola Music of 1982 uses two pianos (not Pianolas as the title may suggest; it is a sly Adamsian joke), wind instruments, three female voices singing without words, and percussion. The composer developed his own brand of minimalism; a minimalism in which the music is clearly partitioned, exploding outwards in all directions. Musical cells are constantly moving, and ruptures come forth constantly to unsettle the listener. This recording is led by Adams himself, with Marc-André Hamelin and Orli Shaham on the pianos.
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Symphonic Music - Released February 1, 2007 | Naxos

Booklet Distinctions 4 étoiles du Monde de la Musique
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Classical - Released September 30, 2016 | Nonesuch

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - 5 Sterne Fono Forum Klassik
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Classical - Released January 1, 2010 | Deutsche Grammophon (DG)

Hi-Res Booklet
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Classical - Released March 31, 1994 | Warner Classics

Adams' Harmonielehre -- or "Harmony Teachings" -- derives its title from Arnold Schoenberg's 1911 book of the same title. Far in technique from Schoenberg's 12-tone style, yet separating from the minimalist school of composition, "Harmonielehre" in its three movements shows Adams returning to some of his finer works of the past and bursting forth with bright, energetic trumpet E minor chords in inconsistent rhythms. A darker second movement follows ("The Anfortas Wound"), followed by a bright and shimmering third movement, "Meister Eckhart and Quackie." Other pieces on this recording include "The Chairman Dances," featuring lines and phrases from Adams' opera Nixon in China -- an orchestral foxtrot between the Chairman and Mrs. Mao Tse Tung. Romantic and danceable, utilizing Chinese pentatonics. Two fanfares close the disc, most notably Adams' most famous composition, "Slow Ride on a Fast Machine." These works, particularly "Harmonielehre," show Adams severing ties with the minimalist camp, being more dynamic and emotional than many of the more static works of the minimalist canon -- hearkening back to many of the impressionist composers of the late 19th century (such as Debussy). ~ Mark W. B. Allender
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Classical - Released November 24, 2017 | Brilliant Classics

Hi-Res Booklet
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Classical - Released January 8, 2007 | Nonesuch

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Classical - Released January 8, 2007 | Nonesuch

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World - Released May 17, 2005 | Rhino - Warner Bros.