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Adams: Absolute Jest, Grand Pianola Music / Thomas

Adams,J. / Thomas,Tilson Michael / Adams,John
Release Date: 08/21/2015 
Label:  San Francisco Symphony   Catalog #: 63   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  John Adams
Performer:  Orli ShahamMarc-André Hamelin
Conductor:  Michael Tilson ThomasJohn Adams
Orchestra/Ensemble:  San Francisco Symphony OrchestraSt. Lawrence String QuartetSynergy Vocals
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 0 Hours 58 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony join forces with America’s most-performed living composer, John Adams, in a colossal album featuring Adams’ Absolute Jest and Grand Pianola Music. Hear Adams’ inspired and witty take on Beethoven’s spirited scherzos in this first-ever recording of his SFS-commissioned Absolute Jest. Also featured is Grand Pianola Music, with its tongue-in-cheek allusions to Beethoven’s Emperor Concerto, written for and premiered by the SFS. Both works speak to the deeply personal and vital relationship of some of the top musicians of our time: John Adams, MTT, and the San Francisco Symphony. Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony join forces with America’s most-performed living composer, John Adams, in a colossal album featuring Adams’ Absolute Jest and Grand Pianola Music. Hear Adams’ inspired and witty take on Beethoven’s spirited scherzos in this first-ever recording of his SFS-commissioned Absolute Jest. Also featured is Grand Pianola Music, with its tongue-in-cheek allusions to Beethoven’s Emperor Concerto, written for and premiered by the SFS. Both works speak to the deeply personal and vital relationship of some of the top musicians of our time: John Adams, MTT, and the San Francisco Symphony. Read less

Works on This Recording

1.
Absolute Jest, for string quartet & orchestra by John Adams
Conductor:  Michael Tilson Thomas
Orchestra/Ensemble:  San Francisco Symphony Orchestra,  St. Lawrence String Quartet
Venue:  Live  Davies Symphony Hall 
Length: 24 Minutes 58 Secs. 
2.
Grand Pianola Music by John Adams
Performer:  Orli Shaham (Piano), Marc-André Hamelin (Piano)
Conductor:  John Adams
Orchestra/Ensemble:  San Francisco Symphony Orchestra,  Synergy Vocals
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1982; USA 

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  2 Customer Reviews )
 More like infinite jest December 23, 2015 By Mary Lynn H. (San Antonio, TX) See All My Reviews "This is great fun and the music is pure Adams. Recommend." Report Abuse
 Absolute Joy August 21, 2015 By Christopher  Abbot (Chilmark, MA) See All My Reviews "One characteristic of the music of John Adams is humor. It might be a title such as Gnarly Buttons, or the cartoon-music genesis of the Chamber Symphony; here we have a pun on the original meaning of scherzo--joke, and gesta, Latin for notable act or deed (from which we get gesture in English). But , more important, the title piece on this disc conjures not just wit but what Adams describes as the 'ecstatic energy' of Beethoven as found in the the vivace section of the Seventh Symphony, or the timpani 'tatoo' of the Scherzo of the Ninth (both quoted in the opening section). The piece is cast in six sections, played continuously. Be assured that this is not some mere pastiche of Beethoven themes: it's pure Adams, from the tense opening, to the luminous music just before the string quartet propels the piece into its second section, to the huge, furious crsecendo of the finale and its tiny coda for percussion--almost an Ivesian 'yawp' in reverse. Grand Pianola Music receives its second composer-directed recording (the first was paired with the Chamber Symphony on Nonesuch). This newer version benefits from the (characteristically) outstanding sound production, and the piece retains its ability to charm, provoke, and spark a laugh, as well as evoke a wistful sigh. It's a measure of the respect accorded Adams that this is the first recording issued by SFS Media to feature a conductor other than MTT. The disc makes a splendid companion for the earlier release featuring Harmonielehre and Short Ride in a Fast Machine. Bravo!" Report Abuse
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