San Francisco’s latest Post-Minimalist outing raises two musical smiles for the price of one.
How has the SF Symphony’s relationship with John Adams developed over the years?
The San Francisco Symphony has had the great fortune of collaborating with John Adams for over three decades. Many groundbreaking pieces were written for us like Harmonium, Harmonielehre, and both of the works on this new album. Many members of the orchestra go back to the days of John Adams’ first premieres and they have a special understanding of his music. Many aspects of John’s pieces were directly inspired by various solo players and sections of the San Francisco Symphony. There is a feeling of “Adams Tradition” in the orchestra.
Absolute Jestis almost a concerto for string quartet and orchestra. What are the challenges in getting all of its complexities across?
The balance issues in performance were a slight challenge. We solved this by lightly amplifying the quartet, just to the point that they have a bit more edge to their sound. But John’s orchestration is very deft and transparent. There are moments when the orchestra is meant to overwhelm...