The American composer John Adams comes to Oslo to conduct his own works.
Adams is one of the most prominent and prolific composers of his generation, whose expression extends from the minimalistic to the dramatic and the intense. Tonight, we'll hear the hypnotic fanfare Tromba lontana and the explosive Dr. Atomic Symphony, based on his opera on the subject of the United States' nuclear programme. Leila Josefowicz performs his violin concerto Scheherazade.2.
John Adams (b. 1947) was inspired early on in his career by American minimalists such as Steve Reich and Philip Glass, and the orchestral fanfare Tromba lontana (1986) contains much of the same pulsating rhythms and hypnotic repetitions as found in many of their works. Adams uses two solo trumpets placed a long distance from each other — Tromba lontana can be translated as “distant trumpet” — lending a fascinating “stereo” effect in the concert hall.
Adams is perhaps best known as an opera composer, and has produced pieces which have become modern classics such as Nixon in China (1987) and Dr. Atomic (2005). In the latter, the creator of the atomic bomb, Robert Oppenheimer, plays one of the principal roles, and the opera describes the intense pressure mounting in Los Alamos in preparation for the first atomic bomb test detonation in 1945. This powerful, intense and angst-ridden music was later compressed, resulting in Dr. Atomic Symphony, which is on tonight´s programme. The Symphony has three movements: I. The Laboratory, II. Panic, and III. Trinity. Even independently of opera´s text and drama we can easily envisage the unease created by the anticipation of the massive political and humanitarian consequences to come, here interpreted and expressed in musical form.
John Adams describes his Scheherazade.2 (2014) as a “dramatic symphony for violin and orchestra”. Adams has retained some of the same sense of Eastern mysticism and magical atmosphere of the original piece, for instance by his use of the unique instrument cimbalom. Scheherazade. 2 is a fascinating and captivating musical work where the soloist has to perform at a virtuosic level in order to surmount its technical challenges.
This unique opportunity to experience one of the great composers of our time perform his own music live in Oslo Concert Hall is not to be missed.
(In photo: John Adams, Photo: Vern Evans; Text: Thomas Erma Møller; Translation: Sarah Osa)
- Adult: 100 - 470 NOK
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- Student: 100 - 235 NOK
- Child: 100 NOK