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  CCn'C -
  01912 SACD
  Shifting Landscapes Adams/Sumera - Järvi
  John Adams: Fearful Symmetries, The Chairman Dances
Lepo Sumera: Symphony No. 2

Symphony Orchestra of Norrlands Opera
Kristjan Järvi (Jarvi) (conductor)
Track listing:
  1. John Adams: Fearful Symmetries
2-4. Lepo Sumera: Symphony. No. 2
5. John Adams: The Chairman Dances

Total time: 58:05
  Classical - Orchestral
Recording type:
Recording info:
  Recording Producer: Hein Dekler
Balance Engineer: Jean-Marie Geijsen
Recording Engineer/Editor: Matthjis Ruijter
Assistant Engineer: Tommy Lundstrom

Recorded at Norrlands Opera, Umea Sweden, May 2001.

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Related titles: 4

Reviews: 2

Review by beardawgs December 4, 2003 (8 of 10 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
This is a great disc. The concept of “shifting landscapes” is to show how the modern music is ‘healing’ itself from Schoenberg-ian atonality and using 12 tone system as much as classical harmony. John Adams is the best example of such compositional approach, but he wasn’t first with the idea, as you may conclude from the booklet. If you haven’t spend last 10 or 15 years in a galaxy far, far away, you should have heard about this, today’s most performed living composer in the world. If you don’t know his work, and have even a moderate interest in classical music, you should get this disc (or any other of his music) right now. His style was described as ‘post minimalist’ which doesn’t really mean anything but refers to at least one of his compositional techniques. He started with minimalism, but developed it in a truly unique style, embracing everything, from cheesy pop and cheap salon dances to atonality and complex harmonies. Having all that in mind, “Fearful symmetries” it’s maybe not the best showcase of his versatility and… well… genius, but it’s nice to have at least some of his music in hi-res and surround. As he conducts his music and records exclusively for Nonesuch, this performance is probably as good as it gets with someone else. And this piece is not the most demanding of all his music and with Jarvi it has all what it needs the most – steady pulse and good speed.

The real gem here is the second symphony by (unknown to me) Estonian composer Lepo Sumera. It requires much more intellectual engagement than “Symmetries” and it is a serious piece of music. Not that Adams is in any way less good, but he would be much better represented here with “Harmonielehre” or the violin concerto in terms of similarities or comparisons. Sumera paints the orchestral sound with colours you haven’t heard before, he is full of tension, mystery and joy. The orchestra is brilliant, responsive and exiting. It takes a while to get to know this piece, which is unfortunately squeezed in between two less serious Adams’. Try it several times on its own, it is mind-blowing.

The recording is exemplary. Full of orchestral detail, very important for deciphering Adams’ clusters, and with wide dynamic range. Overall winner!

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Review by gonzostick June 24, 2010 (2 of 5 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:    
Good sonics, awful performances. The symphony that is the middle of this disc sounds like leftover music from the Matrix movies and is a professional great orchestration of musical ideas that are third-rate, at best.

This conductor plays John Adams' music loud and fast. Every chug chug chug is there, but the playing is sloppy and the rhythms never relax and dance. Also, he completely misses the sensuality of this music and the performance can best be described as Prussian, where the music needs quite a bit of "swung" relaxation. The best performance of "The Chairman Dances" is still the Nonesuch premiere recording with the San Francisco and De Waart. He gets the music and lyricism under the surface of this piece, which is one of the great orchestra works of the last generation.

On the other hand, if you are looking for a bunch of orchestral effects masquerading as a symphony, get this. You will find yourself hating it very soon. It does not stand up well to repeated hearings. I had to look far and wide for this disc, on the recommendation of an audiophile magazine. This was a waste!


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Works: 3  

John Adams - Fearful Symmetries
John Adams - The Chairman Dances
Lepo Sumera - Symphony No. 2