Tuesday, June 21, 2011

John Adams / Lepo Sumera - Shifting Landscapes

Happy summer! Let me share a post that appears on a blog called "Welcome to My Spirit World," hosted by a kindhearted fellow from Asia named Peter. The site showcases a good selection of music, including this album featuring works by John Adams and Lepo Sumera. The tracklist is as follows:
1.      Fearful Symmetries (Adams)
2-4.  Symphony No. 2 (Sumera)
5.     The Chairman Dances (Adams)
I've never heard of the Symphony Orchestra of Norrlands Opera before, but they are in top form on this recording. It's a John Adams sandwich, but let's start with the middle. I really admire Lepo Sumera's Second Symphony and think this is a great version to hear. There is something about the original, off-the-beaten-path sound of Estonian composers that consistently captivates my attention. Listening to this symphony is a wonderful experience, with its harp, bells, arresting motifs, and the building and release of energy. I'd pick this symphony and Forgotten Peoples by Veljo Tormis as two of my favorite compositions by Estonian composers, though there are plenty of great works to discover.

I'm not sure why Fearful Symmetries has the title it does - Adams's 1988 composition has plenty of engaging energy, rhythm, and even a little jazz - an uplifting work, and perfect for summer. It's a good introduction to John Adams. Pretty much anything John Adams writes is a good introduction to John Adams. The Chairman Dances are pretty good too. One of my favorite Adams pieces is the Violin Concerto, but that's another recording for another day.

In the mean time, go visit Peter's blog here to see the post, the download information for this recording, and his other posts.



Unknown said...

Thanks, Ed! I finally got some time to check out your blog. Rest assured, I'll be coming back in future! Cheers, Abby (xysea)


Ed said...

Good to hear from you, Abby... thank you!