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This book was published in 2006 as "the first full-length book in English to be devoted to [contemporary American composer John Adams]," only to be rendered wholly superfluous by the composer's own autobiography published at the tail end of last year (a far better, much more insightful look into Adams' life, philosophy, modus operandi, and works). So you can take a pass on this, unless you're desperate for a volume that compiles Nonesuch liner notes and occasional articles from the Arts section
Writing about music well means that the average reader 'gets it' and feels the music and the descriptions of the music swirling around in the gut in a kind of dance. This book does this, but you have to like the music first, probably a requisite for all musical criticism. Who is going to bother reading a book about music they do not like to listen to? Adams is the greatest American composer in many years. This collection of writings follows the path of his career and is fueled by playbills, inte...
An excellent window into John Adams for those of us trying to understand his music.I saw "Nixon in China" a few weeks ago and am still trying to understand what John Adams was trying to do, so it's time to call in the cavalry--hopefully this book will help! I'm excited to read the essay by one of my musical heroes Sarah Cahill (http://www.sarahcahill.com/) even though her contribution isn't about that particular opera.
Although I love the music of John Adams (yes, this is the composer John Adams, not the 2nd president of the US), I got far less from this book than I was hoping to.
Quite an enjoyable book to read. I jut wished there had been more analysis on the music.