JOHN ADAMS HARMONIELEHRE PDF

My musical ideas have never required the complex forms that we normally expect these days from serious composers. The difficulties in my music are in the concentration and the energy. The music is very difficult to perform in this respect since you immediately notice when an instrumentalist is not playing the right notes. Jazzy, slow, fast, loud, soft — all those differences are important to me.

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Then he had a dream. In the dream, while driving over the San Francisco Bay Bridge, he saw a huge tanker in the bay, and the tanker ascended into the sky. This dream image translated itself musically into a series of loud, pounding E minor chords. Some of that struggle is evident in Harmonielehre, which combines some of the sound and procedures of minimalism with music very reminiscent of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries Adams cites Schoenberg , along with Gustav Mahler , Jean Sibelius , and Claude Debussy , as important influences on this piece.

Those pounding E minor chords, blasted out by the orchestra, open Part I of the work, and the anger implicit in those chords lurks below the shimmering surface that emerges. A lush, slightly dissonant tune takes over, and the music becomes slow and languid even though the tension level remains high.

The pounding chords return to close the movement. Taking the wounding of the Grail King Anfortas as its inspiration, the movement is slow and unsettled, and very dark. The music builds to a couple of angry crescendos, but the sense of malaise remains. Tuned percussion, swirling strings, and a brass-drenched climax close the work.

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Symphony guide: John Adams's Harmonielehre

Then he had a dream. In the dream, while driving over the San Francisco Bay Bridge, he saw a huge tanker in the bay, and the tanker ascended into the sky. This dream image translated itself musically into a series of loud, pounding E minor chords. Some of that struggle is evident in Harmonielehre, which combines some of the sound and procedures of minimalism with music very reminiscent of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries Adams cites Schoenberg , along with Gustav Mahler , Jean Sibelius , and Claude Debussy , as important influences on this piece. Those pounding E minor chords, blasted out by the orchestra, open Part I of the work, and the anger implicit in those chords lurks below the shimmering surface that emerges. A lush, slightly dissonant tune takes over, and the music becomes slow and languid even though the tension level remains high.

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Harmonielehre

My own relationship to Schoenberg needs some explanation. Leon Kirchner, with whom I studied at Harvard, had himself been a student of Schoenberg in Los Angeles during the s. Kirchner had no interest in the serial system that Schoenberg had invented, but he shared a sense of high seriousness and an intensely critical view of the legacy of the past. Through Kirchner I became highly sensitized to what Schoenberg and his art represented. He was a "master" in the same sense that Bach, Beethoven, and Brahms were masters.

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