John Adams: Road Movies (2004)
Classical | EAC (APE & CUE) | 209 MB
Nominated for the 2005 Grammy Award for "Best Chamber Music Performance", Road Movies
offers a portrait of John Adams at different stages of his career. His best-known compositions are musical statements made on a grand scale. The pieces selected for this disc, however, were written for one or two instruments, but by no means are they "small" works―there's plenty of the Adams style and substance. "China Gates" and "Phrygian Gates", both for solo piano, date back to the very beginning of his professional life in 1977. They bear the mark of youthful exuberance and are excellent examples of his compositional language in the early stages of development. The later works have the type of harmonic and melodic movement that Adams is known for, which Adams describes as traveling music, and indeed they are the sonic equivalent of watching landscapes through a car's windshield. Leila Josefowicz handles the violin part of the title track with characteristic aplomb, providing particularly expressive playing in the "Meditative" section. "American Berserk", another latter-day composition on the album, is a frenetic romp that edges perilously close to spinning out of control at several points but pulls itself together in the nick of time.