qatsi (qatsi) wrote,

Long Ride in a Fast Machine

Friday's Prom was a true Travel in Hyper-Reality, as much of the music had an aspect of "fakeness" to it. John Adams began the concert of his own music with the misleadingly titled My Father Knew Charles Ives (which, Adams admits, he did not). This is a rather odd tribute piece, a suite of three movements that somewhat correlate with Ives' own Three Places in New England. Certainly, the first movement, "Concord" (which Adams told us in the Pre-Prom Talk is pronounced more like "conquered"), had episodes of Ivesian military bands marching through the orchestra, although its opening reminded me more of Copland's Quiet City. The middle movement, "The Lake", was Ivesian again, though mostly more peacefully so. Finally, "The Mountain" is much more in Adams' own idiom, ending more like Górecki.

The next piece, The Wound-Dresser, was sung sensitively by Eric Owens. Based on part of a Civil War poem by Walt Whitman, Adams told us that he found that art never shyed away from death (Siegfried, Romeo and Juliet, etc.), but often avoided the subject matter of those who had a caring role.

The second half was a single work, Harmonielehre. This takes its title from Schoenberg's text, but musically Adams drew inspiration from elsewhere - Sibelius and Mahler in particular, with minimalist styling. It's a very energetic piece, with trance-like effects in places and Adams was wery animated on the podium. The conclusion did have an effect I can only describe as "wow!"; this is certainly headed for my Amazon wish list.
Tags: music
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