John Adams’ vast and varied output has earned him a wide audience, uncommon among contemporary classical composers. The works on this disc span his entire career to date, and illustrate his many different styles of writing for the piano. Phrygian Gates and China Gates – “gate” here referring to a type of electronic switch – could be regarded as his first “minimal” works, but are more tonal and expressive than the music of his contemporaries such as Steve Reich and Philip Glass. As a teenager Adams had played clarinet in his father’s marching band, and his Hallelujah Junction reflects his love of …….From Naxos
There's perhaps a touch of irony in the title of Dutch pianist and composer Jeroen van Veen's box set Minimal Piano Collection because at nine discs, it's a pretty massive collection. The program booklet notes that he recorded the entire set, which includes more than ten hours of music, in only six days, an astounding feat. In the program notes, van Veen offers a remarkably clear and concise history of minimalism in music. He defines it broadly enough (following the lead of composer and critic Tom Johnson) to include works by Friedrich Nietzsche and Satie. Philip Glass is the composer most widely represented, with three of the set's nine CDs devoted to his music originally for piano, as well as transcriptions from his film scores and operas. Two discs are given to van Veen's mammoth 24 Préludes, organized according to the framework of Bach's Well-Tempered Clavier. Other composers range from the very well known, such as Michael Nyman, John Adams, Terry Riley, Arvo Pärt, and John Cage, to the familiar-to-specialists, like Tom Johnson, Wim Mertens, and Jacob ter Veldhuis, to those little-known to American audiences, like Klaas de Vries, Simeon ten Holt, John Borstlap, Yann Tiersen, and Carlos Micháns.
With SOLO PIANO, Glass presents himself "unplugged" - no electronic keyboards or synthesizers, and no overdubs, either - just solo piano. Here, Glass' connection to the established "classical" tradition is most evident. Though his pieces are "minimal" (subtly altered repeated patterns or melodic motifs), yet they have an unsentimental beauty and heartfelt grace that one would hear in J.S. Bach's English Suites, as well as the piano music of Chopin and Erik Satie.
This isn’t the best recording of The Piano Concerto. Despite the fact that, for me at least, John Lenehan has always been the definitive Nyman pianist other than the composer himself, Stott’s interpretation has more vigour and Lawson’s more musicality. Lenehan’s performance is also muddied by the recording’s vague acoustic, a particularly telling problem for die-hard Nymaniacs who have grown up with the crisp, punchy, quasi-rock production style entirely appropriate to Nyman’s music and a trademark since his work with David Cunningham in the early 1980s.
Pepper Adams' Plays Charlie Mingus is a watershed album in Adams' long career. For starters, Mingus himself had a hand in the selection of material for the dates, along with Adams and vibist Teddy Charles. Next, the two dates here, September 9 and 12, 1963, were recorded with two different bands. Most of the material was taped on the earlier date with an octet comprised of Adams, Mingus' own drummer, Danny Richmond, bassist Paul Chambers, and Thad Jones on trumpet and his brother Hank on piano. The latter date added Charles McPherson on alto, Zoot Sims on tenor, Bennie Powell on trombone, and had Bob Cranshaw replacing Chambers on bass.
Reissue with the latest remastering and the original cover artwork. Comes with a description written in Japanese. Beautiful solo work from pianist Mike Nock – a set that's got some of the dark edges and dynamic energy of Nock's previous 70s recordings – but an album that also shows some newly lyrical elements as well! Some passages have Mike hitting the keys with the sort of frenzied creation he reached on fusion recordings – but with wonderful results on the acoustic piano – and other moments have this enhanced sense of melody that makes for very beautiful, expressive passages – maybe a touch more sentiment than the younger Nock would have allowed himself, but never in a way that's soppy or overdone. The balance in these modes is great – and reminds us that Nock can be equally compelling a solo performer as he is in a group – on titles that include "Enchanted Garden", "Polyhedron", "Fallen Angel", "California Country Song", "Soliloquy", and "Jacanori".