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
Circle of One is the third album by the American vocalist, pianist and songwriter Oleta Adams and was released in 1990. Circle of One was Adams' first album to receive wide distribution; her two earlier albums (an untitled album in 1982 and Going on Record in 1983) were self-financed and only received local distribution.
Bruce Brubaker artistic skill and understanding of this music is beyond reproach and will thrill any fan of the collected composers work on this CD. The sound quality is outstanding as well. Bruce Brubaker has recorded two CDs on the Arabesque label in a continuing series exploring modern American piano music. The most recent, Inner Cities , was released in September 2003, and includes Brubaker's transcription of Pat Nixon's aria from Adams's opera, Nixon in China . The previous CD, Glass Cage , with pieces by Glass and Cage, was named one of the ten best releases of 2000 by The New Yorker magazine.
The multifarious pulsings of Adams's Phrygian Gates (all 26 minutes of it) are more palatable here than on some rival versions, and the relatively brief China Gates (just five minutes) are well worth visiting. Terry Riley's pieces are more varied in colour and rhythm, less obviously 'minimalist', than you might have expected, with the worlds of jazz remaining well within earshot. Gloria Cheng-Cochran seems fully absorbed in the tasks to hand, and the sound is superb. California-based pianist Gloria Cheng has become a favoured collaborator with some of the most demanding of today's composer/conductors, including Pierre Boulez, Essa-Pekka Salonen and Oliver Knussen, for her renditions of thorny 20th century scores.
A companion release to Hollywood Quintet Sessions, The Complete Regent Sessions (including tracks from the LPs Art Pepper/Sonny Redd, Jazz Is Busting Out All Over, and The Cool Sound of Pepper Adams), also from 1957, features emerging baritone saxophone star Pepper Adams in a series of lengthy jazz jams, unlike the shorter and compact studio recordings he did with West Coast musicians. These two East Coast dates done during the early winter in Hackensack, NJ, at Rudy Van Gelder's house studio feature Adams' running mates who matriculated from Detroit to New York City with him, including Doug Watkins (who was also on the Hollywood tracks), Elvin Jones on all selections, Hank Jones, and Bernard McKinney.
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.