KFJC 89.7FM
Album Review

John Adams “Harmonium” [ECM]

cujo   8/20/2012   A Library

With Shaker Loops and Grand Pianola Music already in the library, this addition rounds out our collection of Adams’ earliest successes. Harmonium was written in 1980 to help open Davies Symphony Hall’s first season (they played in War Memorial Opera House before that). This first recording (of 3 to date) commits all the premiere’s players to plastic. Full orchestra, full chorus, and all the optimistic swells and pulses of early Adams, set in fast-slow-fast movements. The first sets Donne to music (for Adams’ first time; he would revisit Donne powerfully in Doctor Atomic), the second and third some possibly recognizable Dickinson. Be grateful Adams settled in SF and has given us locals droit du seigneur for most of his compositions.

-Cujo, KFJC, Aug 2012

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