August 5, 2015
A sparkling review of John Adams' "Grand Pianola Music" featuring Orli Shaham

The Guardian

July 29, 2015

By: Andrew Clements

Excerpt: "As this new, superb live recording, with Orli Shaham and Marc-André Hamelin as the two swashbuckling pianists shows, Grand Pianola Music – together with Harmonielehre, Adams’s following score for the SFS – was a manifesto, a statement of intent. The two works asserted that even in the last quarter of the 20th century a serious composer could write tunes, summon up the power of tonal harmony and still demand to be taken seriously.

Adams was determined to do his own thing, and if the minimalism of Steve Reich and Philip Glass was his starting point – the opening section of Grand Pianola Music, with its pulsing chords, tinkling arpeggios and trio of wordless voices, comes very close to their world – what follows is a personal fusion, and by the final section, On the Dominant Divide, it’s entirely his own. Thirty years on, it’s still enormous fun, tongue in cheek but serious, too."

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