Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Millennium Stage - Adams - 05/17/10

Adams: Shaker Loops - Members of the National Symphony Orchestra
Adams: Chamber Symphony - Conservatory Project Chamber Orchestra

Yesterday evening, John Adams was back for his second week of residency at the Kennedy Center, this time at the Millennium Stage where he would conduct two of his own works: Shaker Loops with some musicians of the National Symphony Orchestra, and "Chamber Symphony" with carefully hand-picked music students from The Conservatory Project. A nice way to further enjoy the master's presence and experience more samples from his impressive oeuvre.

The first piece certainly sounded attractive to me when I realized that all seven instruments would be all strings. Yeah! And the music itself ended up being quite mesmerizing, taking the audience on a on-going journey during which the tension just kept on building up and up on many different levels but always with a purposeful pulse.
Next was a piece that Adams himself considers his most difficult work, but the "future of music", as he called the 15 music students on the stage with him, looked mostly undaunted. Inspired by what the composer sees as "good cartoons" (from the 1950s), it is a kaleidoscopic mix of many different sounds (including from a synthesizer) and ends up being both fun and virtuosic. The youngsters seemed to have a ball indeed, but also made sure to let their frightfully mature talents shine.

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