“John Adams Rattles And Rolls Like New Music” wrote Norman Lebrecht in his preview of Paavo Järvi and the Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich’s latest album, to be released by Alpha Classics on 2 September.
Following recordings of Messiaen and Tchaikovsky, Paavo Järvi and the Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich turned their attention to the music of John Adams this Spring, in celebration of the composer’s 75th birthday. They were joined by John Adams himself, whose presence and involvement in the project, gave the performances a special “infectious enthusiasm”.
“The Tonhalle Orchestra’s 2022 celebration of my music was a memorable event for me” wrote Adams of his visit to Zürich. “It is a superb orchestra with great flexibility in terms of style and execution, and perhaps because the personnel comprises such an international combination of players, they had no trouble finding the essence of my very American musical language. I enjoyed conducting them several of my large works, and I enjoyed even more the opportunity to collaborate with Paavo Jarvi, a consummate conductor and an artist of great sympathies for many types of music. His performances, captured on this new recording, are both deeply understanding of the music as well as brilliant in sound. I know I have some very good new friends now in Zurich!”
The new album presents work from Adams’ various creative periods and with a variety of autobiographical or typically American references. Tromba Lontana (1986) is a fanfare written in commemoration of the 150th anniversary of Texas’s declaration of independence from Mexico; Lollapaolooza (1995) was a birthday present to Simon Rattle; Slonimsky’s Earbox (1996) a tribute to his friend, the Russian-American composer, critic and musicologist Nicolas Slonimsky; and My Father knew Charles Ives (2003) is a musical autobiography and homage to the early 20th-century American composer, who has been one of Adams’s major musical influences.