John Luther Adams: the other Adams

According to John Luther Adams, he and the ‘other’ John Adams exchange occasional e-mails about each being mistaken for the other, Alex Ross mentions in a chapter devoted to JLA in ‘Listen To This.’

The other John Adams: image credit, composer's website

The former has a sonic landscape rich, deep and slow-moving, inspired by the surrounding Alaskan countryside in which the composer dwells. Something of this endless space can be heard in two pieces streamed over on WQXR, from a live performance by the American Contemporary Music Ensemble at (Le)Poisson Rouge back in 2010.

There’s the diaphonous The Farthest Place for violin, vibraphone, marimba, piano, and double bass, which gently shimmers and shifts.

Of the two pieces performed, though, my favourite has to be In A Treeless Place, Only Snow for celeste, harp (or piano), two vibraphones and string quartet.

You can see a list of Adams’ works and hear extracts from some of them on the composer’s own website here. The Q2 broadcast also includes two pieces by Kevin Volans.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: