John Luther Adams’s oceans and deserts

Posted on: May 7, 2018

“John Luther Adams is a composer who has come out from the cold,” writes Mark Swed in Thursday’s (5/3) Los Angeles Times. “In Alaska … he wrote glacially uneventful, fabulously colorful, interminable music reflecting his attachment to his landscape…. Adams has become one of the hottest composers on the American scene. The acclaim began with ‘Become Ocean’ … in which oceanic sounds wash over the listener, over and over and over again. The Seattle Symphony gave the premiere in 2013, leading to a Pulitzer Prize…. A month ago, the Seattle Symphony premiered a sequel, ‘Become Desert’ [in which] you begin to lose a sense of reality, the shimmer stimulating aural mirages.… [In April] the Redlands Symphony gave the California premiere of Adams’ ‘there is no one, not even the wind’ … a chamber-orchestra sketch of ‘Become Desert.’ … Redlands happens to be one of the last stops on the 10 Freeway before the desert looms…. The [Redlands Symphony] performance was terrific.” About Adams’s work, Swed asks, “Is his a music of enlightenment or escape?… Is this for tuning in or chilling? The answers have to be personal.… I come down on the side of enlightenment.”

Posted May 7, 2018