Since September 2010, this blog has recorded the journey of this middle-aged man as I attempt to listen to all the music in my CD collection. CDs revisited in their entirety from start to finish - no skipping tracks, no shuffle. CDs only - no vinyl, no tapes, no downloads. And just as CD technology (and the album format itself) becomes obsolete. I'm no music critic, just a music junkie with too much time on my hands.

Monday, March 10, 2014

John Adams Conducts American Elegies (1991)

John Adams conducting the Orchestra of St. Luke's. Recorded at Manhattan Center Studios, New York City, August, 1989.

I bought this CD for two reasons: 1) I was a John Adams fan back in '91; gravitating towards whatever he was releasing, and 2) I had recently heard Ives' The Unanswered Question used to great effect as the soundtrack to a JFK assassination documentary (JFK: A Time Remembered, 1988).

We're treated to six works from the 20th century on this disc:
  • Charles Ives: The Unanswered Question (1908)
  • Ives: Five Songs (1922)
  • Ingram Marshall: Fog Tropes (1981)
  • Morton Feldman: Madame Press Died Last Week At Ninety (1970)
  • Adams: Eros Piano (1989)
  • David Diamond: Elegy In Memory Of Maurice Ravel (1937)
Not surprisingly, my favorite piece is The Unanswered Question (that's why I bought the CD, after all).  Marshall's Fog Tropes is a haunting piece for brass sextet and tape.  I wish I had heard it when I was in college because I would have tried to scrape together a reading or performance of it.

These are some gorgeous pieces, but the elegiac nature of the works keeps me from listening to this CD much.  On a side note, this is one of my favorite CD covers simply because the image by photographer William Eggleston perfectly captures the mood of the music.

Personal Memory Associated with this CD: None

Previously revisited for the blog:
Chamber Symphony/Grand Pianola Music (1994)
Fearful Symmetries/The Wound Dresser (1989)
The Chairman Dances (1987)
Harmonielehre (1985)

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