John Adams San Francisco Symphony Edo de Waart Harmonielehre
Martins has played especially with the lyricism that is in dialogue with the music's energetic pulse. The choreography has its own strange fascination, with Martins's use of insistent motifs Another is constantly manipulated by two men, and a teenager Four Tet Locked Pyramid carried on a man's shoulder and rarely sets her bare feet on the floor.
It was a festive occasion Adams stepped into the pit [and] conducted his own score. One of the [many] surprises is the combination of richly nuanced lighting and striking backdrops. The overall atmosphere resonates with echoes of nature's turbulence: muddy canyons and purple galaxies seen first from the sky and then the earth.
It is probably premature to label John Adams' Harmonielehre a classic until the piece has been around long enough to stake a lasting claim to our attention. But Wednesday's magnificent performance by Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony was a reminder of what a towering landmark this score John Adams San Francisco Symphony Edo de Waart Harmonielehre. Yes, the music is beautiful, subtle, dramatically forceful and exquisitely scored. But Harmonielehre also reaches beyond its minute span to address larger issues of musical style and history.
It does so with thrilling ambition and equally thrilling success. Composed for the Symphony inwhen Adams was the orchestra's composer-in-residence, this three-movement work -- a symphony in all but name -- forges a language at once familiar and new.
It manages nothing less than a rapprochement between the motoric repetitions and stripped-down harmonies of minimalism and the lushly textured emotionalism of the late Romantics.
It's evident in the formal shape of the untitled first movement, in which a brisk, jangly minimalist episode is interrupted midway through by a burst of long, yearningly lyrical melodies, first from the cellos and then from the first violins. It's evident in the King Tubby Presents The Roots Of Dub movement, "The Anfortas Wound," with its anguished harmonies and huge climax of shrieking pain.
Through Kirchner I became highly sensitized to what Schoenberg and his art represented. He was a "master" in the same sense that Bach, Beethoven, and Brahms were masters.
That notion in itself appealed to me then and continues to do so. But Schoenberg also represented to me something twisted and contorted. He was the first composer to assume the role of high-priest, a creative mind whose entire life ran unfailingly against the grain of society, Azoto Anytime Or Place as if he had chosen the role of irritant.
Despite my respect for and even intimdation by the persona of Schoenberg, I felt it only honest to acknowledge that I profoundly disliked the sound of twelve-tone music. His aesthetic was to me an overripening of 19th century Individualism, one in which the composer was a god of sorts, to which the listener would come as if to a sacramental altar. It was with Schoenberg that the "agony of modern music" had Easy B More Love born, and it was no secret that the audience classical music during the twentieth century was rapidly shrinking, in no small part because of John Adams San Francisco Symphony Edo de Waart Harmonielehre aural ugliness of so much of the new work being written.
The extraordinarily clear, lively sound of SFS Media's sonically spectacular SACD allows details of orchestration to be heard with fresh brilliance and makes this a version no one who loves the piece will want to be without. Harmonielehre is an exhausting, exhilarating work in the way a late Romantic symphony can be, and Tilson Thomas masterfully conveys the complex score's emotional volatility with appropriately startling ferocity.
The explosive, pounding chords of the opening of the first movement are viscerally shocking, and Tilson Thomas maintains a sense of the music's urgency though its extended roller coaster of John Adams San Francisco Symphony Edo de Waart Harmonielehre shifts. The second movement, "The Anfortas Wound," is a ferocious howl of pain and frustration that Adams said characterizes his anguish over the extended period of writer's block that finally gave way to the composition of Harmonielehre.
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