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DG Concerts: Adams: The Dharma at Big Sur

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Customer Reviews

John Adams’ ode to the sights and sounds of California

I was backstage and heard the LAPO rehearse when they visited Philadelphia on their tour - they are stunningly good!!
For pieces that celebrate and embody the California spirit, one would be hard-pressed to find a truer example than John Adams’ ode to the sights and sounds of the state. From conception to genesis to realization, The Dharma at Big Sur is imbued with the intoxicating essence of the West Coast and its denizens. In 2002, Los Angeles Philharmonic Music Director Esa-Pekka Salonen approached Adams and asked him to write a piece for the inaugural gala of Walt Disney Concert Hall, which was to be the LA Phil’s new home. Upon seeing artist’s renditions and scale models of the then-unfinished building, Adams was struck by the “sweeping, silver-toned clouds and sails of its exterior and…its warm and inviting public spaces.” In the program notes for the premiere performance, Adams expressed his desire to “reflect the experience of those who, like me, were not born here and for whom the arrival on this side of the continent had both a spiritual and physical impact.”

Surprised: An Argument for Live Recording

More and more recordings nowadays are being done live. I've always been a fan of them preferring the emotional arc of the piece while sacrificing some acoustic purity and technical perfection. When I first heard this piece on the Nonesuch recording, I simply couldn't take it. Not only did I not want to hear John Adams isolated experiment in composing with just-intonation (there are many composers dedicating their whole careers to this pursuit), but as a New Englander, I just can only handle so much of Adams' "Yankee going West" thing.
But this recording made this piece listen-able. I didn't have a revelation of any kind. But I was able to at least say it's a good piece and if this is what it sounds like in real life, and not like on the Nonesuch recording, I hope it continues to do well and comes to a city near me.

Decent live recording

Josefowicz and Adams have have had a long and storied collaboration together. Tracy Scott Silverman premired the work but Josefowicz is just an ample interpretor. The work itself is not his best. His homage to the beats, and more specificall to "On the Road" misses the point in a number of ways most importantly because it was under constant revision - something most beats would take issue with. Still it's the second recording of the work- and live. While the studio premire is recorded better, this one isn't such a shabby performanced to collect for the price. -Bz

DG Concerts: Adams: The Dharma at Big Sur, Leila Josefowicz
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  • $3.99
  • Genres: Classical, Music
  • Released: Jun 15, 2010

Customer Ratings