”You never quite know what you’ll get on record next from Paavo Järvi” writes Andrew Mellor in Gramophone Magazine, “though there was the slightest clue some John Adams might be on the way given the composer was in residence at the conductor’s Zurich Tonhalle Orchestra for the duration of the 2021‑22 season. That makes this recording a little more than a homage from a distance. Adams was personally involved in its preparation and had recently conducted the orchestra in some of the works included.”
Below are a few of the review highlights of Paavo Järvi and the Tonhalle Orchester-Zürich’s latest recording, a tribute to John Adams on his 75th birthday which has already received a Diapason d’Or and 5 star recording review from the BBC Music Magazine. The album has also been singled out by the German Record Critics’ Award as one of the highlights of the last quarter.
“Fifteen years after the publication of the first recording of Slonimsky’s Earbox by Kent Nagano and the Hallé Orchestra, this new reading by Järvi, more supple and revealing a plethora of details and colours, has received a standing ovation from the Tonhalle audience and become the new benchmark on record.”
“ … one of the most lucid and well-programmed portraits of Adams to emerge, well, in a long while”.
Scherzo Magazine (Spain)
“… the music sounds as if it were new, and Paavo Järvi and the Zurich Tonhalle perform it with contagious enthusiasm.”
“Paavo Järvi conducts with all his virtuoso and technical mastery, making it possible to emphasize the inherent pulsation of this music and the beauty of its timbres and textures. The Tonhalle orchestra delivers an impeccable performance carried by a brilliant collective and individuals of the highest quality.”
The Guardian (UK)
“This short compendium is an ideal starting point for any listener wanting to sample this prolific composer’s rich orchestral vocabulary.”
“This is vintage ’80s and ’90s Adams: My Father Knew Charles Ives arguably remains one of his most compelling and galvanising works … and there is plenty to enjoy in these fine performances, the hints of sleaze in The Lake (excellent wah-wah trumpets) and nicely captured sepia tone in particular … The string slashes of Järvi’s Tonhalle (in Slonimsky’s Earbox) are razor-sharp … and they deliver a knockout Lollapalooza in which you can tell they’re having fun … A very bright-eyed Tromba lontana completes a good contextual snapshot of what the Harmonielehre-era Adams was up to with orchestra.”
“Paavo Järvi conducts the works as if they are familiar repertoire … He brings them to life and emphasizes the highly virtuoso tonal brilliance of the orchestra.”
“The extreme richness of the thematic elaboration, the subtlety of the orchestration are more finely underlined by Paavo Järvi than in previous recordings … the tempos adopted here allow a better appreciation of the instrumental polychromy, and the motivic elements gain in relief in the phrase. Far from being limited to simple atmospheric components. An exciting alternative.”
BBC Music Magazine (UK)
“A snapshot of John Adams’s music over two decades … a taut performance, with a nicely detailed recording in the excellent Tonhalle acoustic.”
The Whole Note (Canada)
“ This outstanding portrait of Adams’ orchestral oeuvre is a fine way to celebrate the composer’s 75th birthday.”