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Road Movies [Classical, Compilation]

John Adams Audio CD
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 20.57
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Product Details


1. Road Movies I. Relaxed Groove
2. Road Movies II. Meditative
3. Road Movies III. 40% Swing
4. Hallelujah Junction - 1st movement -
5. Hallelujah Junction - 2nd movement -
6. Hallelujah Junction - 3rd movement -
7. China Gates
8. American Berserk
9. "Phrygian Gates, Part 1"
10. "Phrygian Gates, Part 2 (A System of Weights and Measures)"
11. "Phrygian Gates, Part 3"

Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Response to frisbee95: July 8 2004
Format:Audio CD
I agree. His music is getting very stale (I actually found his violin concerto to be boring). Minimalism, which is a silly term anyway, is essentially gone. I've known the music of Reich, Glass, Adams, Riley, Young etc since the late 70's, and have interviewed and met all of them during my college years. A shame, since much of their earlier output is amazing. One of the best concerts I attended was the Chicago premiere of Harmonium, conducted by Felix Slatkin, at an outdoor Grant Park concert. Adams was there, and I had a great chat with him.
For alternatives, there is always the music of Morton Feldman (particularly the works from 1977 on, which is arguably his best), some decent work by Charlemagne Palestine (Strumming Music is still the best, in my opinion) and a few others. Not to be self-promoting, but just to show that there is recent music with repetitive structures that I think, are of value, you may want to look at [...] for some examples. Not putting my works in the same class as any of the others, but I'd like to think there's something new and interesting about it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A great composer with all his influences showing May 21 2004
Format:Audio CD
What I've come to love about John Adams is the way he borrows from everybody and everything. In many ways, he's the epitome of the Post-Modern composer, because he boldly appropriates other styles and idioms and finds a way to make them his own. This new CD is a prime example of how Adams uses the old to make new. "Road Movies" is clearly the work of John Adams, but the second movement resonates so close to the 2nd movement of the Copland violin sonata that it gives me the shakes. This isn't just a quote or rip-off, but a work that honors a powerful precedent: it's almost a love song to its predecessor. "American Berserk" evokes an array of composers that Adams clearly loves, especially Nancarrow and Ives. "Hallelujah Junction" is a genuinely great tune, with inflections of Gospel and Rock piano playing thrown in to make it tasty. And while this makes my third recording of "Phrygian Gates," I can't complain, as I think it's probably the best work for piano written in the last 25 years. None of these works are "easy" to play, and they're given dynamic performances and crisp recordings, making this CD a unique pleasure.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Not the best Adams CD May 17 2004
Format:Audio CD
I am a big fan of John Adams, he is my favourite living composer, but I feel that in recent years his work has not been up to the standard of such masterpieces as Harmonielehre, Shaker Loops, El Dorado and Phrygian Gates, one of the works recorded here (again). Phrygian Gates is the main piece on this CD and it is a brilliant piece, one of Adam's best. Rolf Hind's performance is excellent, but do we really need another recording of it? There are many recordings already available for this work, as there are for its smaller companion piece - China Gates. Of the other works on the CD only Hallelujah Junction and American Berserk are premiere recordings. Road Movies was released on a CD a couple of years ago by the California Ear Unit. Again the performance of Road Movies is excellent and the piece is quite good, especially the first movement, but it is a shadow of Adams' great works. Hallelujah Junction is the standout piece of the newer works on the CD. Its sprawling arch recalls the best of Adam's orchestral output and it has a very exciting climax recalling Weill and Lizst. Still, there's something about it that just doesn't move me like his earlier work. American Berserk is the biggest disappointment on the disk, it sounds like a piece that Adams just threw off in a few minutes from a scale formula.
I am very worried about Adam's recent output, is he losing his genius I wonder? Having heard concert performances of some of his more recent, as yet unrecorded orchestral works, such as My Father Knew Charles Ives, Guide To Strange Places and On The Transmigration of Souls, I have been unmoved by them and felt they were only reasonably good at best.
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5.0 out of 5 stars So SImple and Yet so Complex May 13 2004
By A Customer
Format:Audio CD
I was first introduced to John Adams by my daughter's 15 year- old boyfriend, who is a real fan, and I fell in love with "Century Rolls" and "Shaker Loops." I ending up collecting just about all of his work, and have become a real fan myself. I sent a bunch of friends some of his CD's for Christmas, and one of them sent me word that his new CD was out. I ordered it right away, because I was anxious to hear "China Gates." Wow. A must-have for fans of minimalism, but also makes for great meditation music, as I found that the repetition of harmonic phrases causes the brain to seek alternate pathways.There is a light-heartedness to his composition, yet the cerebral elements are there as well, so it is music that both arrives and departs from traditional minimalism, enough so that the listener is captivated, wondering where the music is going. Buy it!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.5 out of 5 stars  6 reviews
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars So SImple and Yet so Complex May 13 2004
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
I was first introduced to John Adams by my daughter's 15 year- old boyfriend, who is a real fan, and I fell in love with "Century Rolls" and "Shaker Loops." I ending up collecting just about all of his work, and have become a real fan myself. I sent a bunch of friends some of his CD's for Christmas, and one of them sent me word that his new CD was out. I ordered it right away, because I was anxious to hear "China Gates." Wow. A must-have for fans of minimalism, but also makes for great meditation music, as I found that the repetition of harmonic phrases causes the brain to seek alternate pathways.There is a light-heartedness to his composition, yet the cerebral elements are there as well, so it is music that both arrives and departs from traditional minimalism, enough so that the listener is captivated, wondering where the music is going. Buy it!
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great composer with all his influences showing May 21 2004
By Jeff Abell - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
What I've come to love about John Adams is the way he borrows from everybody and everything. In many ways, he's the epitome of the Post-Modern composer, because he boldly appropriates other styles and idioms and finds a way to make them his own. This new CD is a prime example of how Adams uses the old to make new. "Road Movies" is clearly the work of John Adams, but the second movement resonates so close to the 2nd movement of the Copland violin sonata that it gives me the shakes. This isn't just a quote or rip-off, but a work that honors a powerful precedent: it's almost a love song to its predecessor. "American Berserk" evokes an array of composers that Adams clearly loves, especially Nancarrow and Ives. "Hallelujah Junction" is a genuinely great tune, with inflections of Gospel and Rock piano playing thrown in to make it tasty. And while this makes my third recording of "Phrygian Gates," I can't complain, as I think it's probably the best work for piano written in the last 25 years. None of these works are "easy" to play, and they're given dynamic performances and crisp recordings, making this CD a unique pleasure.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Silly reviewers! Historical Adams June 13 2006
By Chris Speaks - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
What we have here is a hodgepodge of old and (one) new material for piano. "China Gates" and "Phrygian Gates" is actually considered to be Adam's Opus 1, so to find out that his very first mature work does not resound with the same punctuation and feeling that previously works have, like "Harmonielehre" or even the recently released "Naive and Sentimental Music," does not mean that Adams is in anyway losing his "touch" or is begin lose his creative spark. Instead, these two pieces should be listened to and enjoyed for what they represent in terms of John Adams' historical work, or the work which has gotten him to where he is today.

Similarly, "Road Movies" was composed in 1995, "Hallelujah Junction" was composed in 1996, and the newest work, "American Berzerk" was composed in 2003. "Road Movies" is actually a very soothing, contemplative work, but (true) does contain the same expressiveness felt in other works of art by Adams. "Hallelujah Junction" may be the most disappointing piece on the album, but I'm not sure that it's supposed to be taken as seriously as some Adams' fans would like to take it - such as on the level with "On The Transmigration of Souls" or "The Death of Klinghoffer." Adams himself acknowledged that "Hallelujah Junction" is the name of a truck stop on US 395 and that "it was a case of a good title needing a piece, so I obliged by composing this work for two pianos."

No, this isn't Adams' best work, but I definitely think that it surely lives up to his other greatest attempts. Plus, as an album containing solely works composed by Adams for the piano and not for orchestra, this is a nice breather and definitely an excellent addition to one's collection of piano music or for fans of Adams himself.
6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good music but the Nonesuch recording is better Feb. 20 2006
By MusicMan - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
This CD shows a side of Adams that we haven’t seen much. It shows Adams as a master of chamber music as well as large orchestral works like El Dorado. In Road Movies Adams makes use of more jazz here than he did in early works and the second movement is almost neo-romantic in style. I feel that his mature style is much more alive that his early works which were a much more traditional type of minimalism. I can’t help but feel that Adams is leading new area of composers. I definitely recommend you to listen to this music but I think that the Nonesuch recording is better done, and is a much better deal all round.
2 of 10 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Boring Road Trip Sept. 10 2007
By Kevin J. Allen - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
I am admirer of Jonn Adam's works, but this is the worst of his material. His road trips must not have been very exciting, because this piece is about as bland as anything I've ever heard. I spent more time adjusting the volume than I did enjoying the music.
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