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John Adams: Complete Piano Music

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - James Manheim
John Adams is a crowd-pleasing composer and as such depends on the large audiences of orchestral music for the musical dialogues in which he engages. Solo piano music didn't have the same kind of public when it came out, at least in the classical realm, and Adams has not written a great deal of music for the piano. The four works presented here by Dutch pianist Ralph van Raat are advertised as Adams' complete piano music, and only one, "Phrygian Gates," is among his most popular works. The album makes a real contribution, for it demonstrates how Adams nevertheless worked on major compositional questions in his piano music; it is not a "byway" of his musical path. The ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - James Manheim
John Adams is a crowd-pleasing composer and as such depends on the large audiences of orchestral music for the musical dialogues in which he engages. Solo piano music didn't have the same kind of public when it came out, at least in the classical realm, and Adams has not written a great deal of music for the piano. The four works presented here by Dutch pianist Ralph van Raat are advertised as Adams' complete piano music, and only one, "Phrygian Gates," is among his most popular works. The album makes a real contribution, for it demonstrates how Adams nevertheless worked on major compositional questions in his piano music; it is not a "byway" of his musical path. The works on the album date from between 1977 ("Phrygian Gates" and "China Gates") and 2001 ("American Berserk"). They all in one way or another attest to Adams' success in incorporating a range of Romantic gestures into a minimalist language, a potent combination indeed that is fully accessible to anybody yet never lapses into sentimentality. He translates the combination into pianistic terms, with sweeping passages of repeated figures that ebb and flow as they offer the pianist something to work at. The four works are entirely different in personality, and "American Berserk" is an especially vivid manifestation of Adams' use of vernacular musical languages -- it abstracts the rhythms and textures of boogie woogie in a satisfying, colorful ride. Van Raat's approach emphasizes the neo-Romantic elements in Adams' music and provides a distinctively Continental interpretation that seems to suggest a continuing rise in and geographical diffusion of Adams' reputation.
New York Times - Bernard Holland
This music rings both literally and figuratively. It also wears its American-ness on its sleeve, or at least the American myth of clean industrial-strength energy and untroubled confidence.
Gramophone - Peter Dickinson
The Dutch pianists, cleanly recorded in Potton Hall, Suffolk, deliver everything with consistent aplomb.... Naxos wins yet again by offering all these pieces on one CD.
BBC Music Magazine - Andrew Clements
Ralph van Raat gives full weight to all that emotional potential, and he combines superbly with Maarten on Hallelujah Junction.
San Francisco Chronicle - Joshua Kosman
"Hallelujah Junction" comes off -- in a magnificent performance by van Raat and Maarten van Veen -- like a synthesis of everything that's come before. It's boisterous and elegant and funny and beautiful, by turns and all at once.
Toronto Star - John Terauds
1/2 Van Raat captures the energy and frequent sensuality of Adams's piano music, while never flinching at the technical demands.

The Dutch pianists, cleanly recorded in Potton Hall, Suffolk, deliver everything with consistent aplomb.... Naxos wins yet again by offering all these pieces on one CD.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 2/27/2007
  • Label: Naxos American
  • UPC: 636943928523
  • Catalog Number: 8559285
  • Sales rank: 117,025

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 Phrygian Gates, for piano - John Adams & Ralph van Raat (24:39)
  2. 2 American Berserk, for piano - John Adams & Ralph van Raat (6:06)
  3. 3 China Gates, for piano - John Adams & Ralph van Raat (5:13)
  4. 4 Hallelujah Junction, for 2 pianos - John Adams & Ralph van Raat (15:58)
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
Ralph van Raat Primary Artist
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