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Adams: The Dharma At Big Sur - My Father Knew Charles Ives

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Customer Reviews

Dharma: astonishing.

I saw The Dharma at Big Sur performed by the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and would have to describe it as easily the most astonishing and mesmerizing peice of classical music I've ever heard. It gave me chills at least a half adozen times. Adam's style in Dharma is very unique, blending asian instruments and sounds with classical intruments and hints of jazz. The result is extremely expressive and moving.

Fabulous! Stunning! Mesmerizing!

To echo a previous reviewer, these pieces give me chills! On first hearing, they are merely huge, thrilling and exuberant. But on multiple hearings, they gradually reveal their depth, both of structure and passion. If you like Indian ragas -- as I learned to love them through Ravi Shankar'smusic in the 1970's -- you will understand Dharma at Big Sur more readily. It's an amazing hybrid of European and Indian musical traditions. I've never really liked Charles Ives' music -- it was always hard for me to hear the "music" in it. But I can hear both Ives and music in "My Father Knew Charles Ives." Again, a brilliant modern rendition of Ives' ideas in his "Fourth of July" piece, but much more listenable. I heartily recommend these pieces. I find them immensely joyous and uplifting.

John Adams

It is true, as other reviewers have pointed out, that Adams is a peculiar person. That being said, these two compositions are among my favorite of Adams' output. I enjoy this late Adams, when he steps outside the traditional harmony and architecture of his earlier minimalism. My Father Knew Charles Ives is certianly a good example of this; it is no where near as boring as Shaker Loops, or Grand Pianola Music. And as one previous reviewer cleverly pointed out, the Dharma at Big Sur is titled as such because the electric violin imitates the carnatic music of southern India. If you are like me, and find yourself somewhat bored with the overly-simple harmonic plan and incessant rhythm of some other John Adams, then I recommend you try these two compositions; you just might enjoy them.


Formed: 1930

Genre: Classical

Years Active: '30s, '40s, '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

Funded and administered under the government sponsored British Broadcasting Company, the BBC Symphony Orchestra has, since its establishment in 1930, enjoyed a freedom from significant financial concerns which often plague independently funded orchestras. Because of this, the BBC Symphony Orchestra has been able to present a large body of new or lesser-known works that might be considered too avant-garde for many of the world's other major orchestras. In addition to its full schedule of broadcast...
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Adams: The Dharma At Big Sur - My Father Knew Charles Ives, BBC Symphony Orchestra
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  • $9.99
  • Genres: Classical, Music
  • Released: Sep 25, 2006

Customer Ratings