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Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony release two works by John Adams: Harmonielehre which was commissioned, premiered and recorded by SFS in 1985; and Short Ride in a Fast Machine, commissioned by Tilson Thomas prior to his becoming Music Director of SFS in 1995.
Michael Tilson Thomas (MTT) and the San Francisco Symphony (SFS) release the latest in their award-winning catalogue of recordings with two works by John Adams, a composer indelibly associated with the orchestra: Harmonielehre, one of the composer's earliest orchestral works which was commissioned, premiered and recorded by SFS in 1985; and Short Ride in a Fast Machine, commissioned by MTT prior to his becoming Music Director of SFS in 1995. In keeping with the high-end quality of the MTT-SFS releases on their own SFS Media label, this recording is released in the Hybrid SACD format.
Harmonielehre is one of Adams’ early bold statements, blending elements of classical, jazz, rock and minimalism, and American and European influences. MTT, who conducted the work during his first season as SFS Music Director in 1995 and multiple times since, said of the work, “When a new piece is premiered, it can make a stunning impression. But the real story of that piece is what emerges over time. When the SFS first performed Harmonielehre in the mid-80s it was a life changing moment for everybody who heard it… now, decades later, the piece still stands up.”
Of Short Ride in a Fast Machine, Adams recalls, “For some reason a connection with Cape Cod came to mind. Years before [the commission] I had been there with a former brother in-law and he had asked me at about 1 in the morning if I would like to take a ride with him in his Lamborghini. I did and once he started up I wished I hadn’t because he drove very, very fast. The idea of a piece that had that combination of excitement and thrill and was just on the edge of anxiety or terror was the motivating force.”
This release joins the highly-acclaimed, best-selling MTT-SFS catalogue, which includes their outstanding cycle of Mahler’s orchestral works and songs, the Keeping Score series of DVDs and Blu-Rays, and more recent releases of works by Beethoven, Copland and Ives.
Part 2: The Anfortas Wound
Part 3: Meister Eckhardt & Quackie
Adams: Short Ride In A Fast Machine
Short Ride In A Fast Machine
“More than in previous recordings, Michael Tilson Thomas's superbly paced approach conveys the music's sense of vast surrounding spaces, and the momentum of the biggest passages is the more thrilling for being cannily unrushed.”
“[Harmonielehre] requires a very safe pair of conductor's hands to smooth out its eclectic fissures. Michael Tilson Thomas is about as safe as one could wish for...both live recordings serve to reinforce Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony's status as true champions of Adam's orchestral music.”
“These are masterly live performances played with intensity and radiant with character. The recording is first class, vividly clear and excellently balanced.”
15th March 2012
“This new recording captures its unbridled potency, from the monochord fanfare through the enigmatic yearning reminiscent of Herrmann's Vertigo, to the resolution of the insistent strings and woodwind.”
24th March 2012
“Adams has a closer relationship with the San Francisco Symphony than any other orchestra, so it’s fitting that Michael Tilson Thomas’s band should release superb recordings of two of Adams’s finest orchestral pieces to mark its centenary...Performances are supremely clear, cogent and virtuosic.”
Click on any of the works listed above for alternative recordings.