Having earned his composing stripes after the 1960s, John Adams had the pioneering work of Steve Reich, Philip Glass, and Terry Riley close at hand as he ventured into his trade. And, while minimalism's historical continuum helps place Adams, he used Reich, Glass, and Riley (among others) only as a starting point. And here's proof: a 10-CD retrospective of nearly all Adams's recorded compositions on Nonesuch Records, the label that also issued Steve Reich 1965-1995 and Kronos Quartet: 25 Years. Adams's Harmonium, a choral work of startling energy and effervescence, appears here in a new recording, as do distillations of both The Death of Klinghoffer and Nixon in China, two path-clearing operas.
John Adams is the living composer who is most widely performed today. This visually rich portrait of the composer by award-winning film maker Mark Kidel explores the influences that have shaped Adams's unique music, from minimalism to jazz and from the Indian raga to the European classical tradition.
Their Warner Classics debut makes clear that Christina & Michelle Naughton show great imagination in their programming: Messiaen's mystical and epic Visions de l'Amen, composed during World War II, appears alongside John Adams' boisterous and percussive Hallelujah Junction, inspired by a truck stop on the border of Nevada and California. The CD is completed with J.S. Bach's serenely moving Gotttes Zeit ist die allerbeste Zeit, BWV 106, in an arrangement by the contemporary Hungarian composer Gyorgy Kurtag.