Great musical beginnings: Hallelujah Junction

I love the pulsing, driving impetus of the opening of Adams’ two-piano titan from 1996,  Hallelujah Junction.

JOhn Adams

Image credit: LATimesblogs

The bold clarion-call of the opening gesture, picked up by the second piano and imitated but slightly out of synch, sets up a relentless energy that can’t fail to grip the listener and take them with it.

The use of the key of Eb major can’t be an accident:  it’s the key of heroism, of Beethoven’s Eroica Symphony, and is tremendously life-affirming as it resounds between the two pianos.

Then, the impish bassline that begins twelve seconds in to the above extract (or at 1’25” on the video below); impudent, puckish, it slowly finds its feet and darts along underneath the continuining rhythmic imperative of the opening.

There’s more about the piece, plus an audio extract, on Adams’ own website here. And if you can forgive the tuning between the two pianos, here’s a short video clip plucked from YouTube.


(Audio extract via LastFM).


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