Thursday, August 23, 2007

Lots of fallout from Doctor Atomic Symphony


Length was also a problem in the brand new John Adams work. By default, this turned out to be the world premiere of the Doctor Atomic Symphony - the scheduled premiere in St Louis last March was postponed because the score had taken Adams longer than he anticipated.

But in creating a four-movement, 45-minute span by recomposing music from his 2005 opera, Adams seems to have trusted the original material too implicitly. Without the narrative and text to provide a spine, the result is all surface, lacking in rigour and any genuinely striking ideas, save for the trumpet solo that appears in the final section, which lingers in the mind through its sheer sentimentality.

It was no help to either of Adams's works that the playing of the BBC Symphony Orchestra left such a dreary impression of routine. The whole concert, beginning with a drab account of the suite from Aaron Copland's ballet Billy the Kid, was of a programme left one rehearsal short of a top-quality result.


Andrew Clements reviews the BBC Proms premiere of the Doctor Atomic Symphony in today's Guardian. Sounds like the BBC Symphony Orchestra needs a decent rehearsal facility


Header image shows the first Atomic explosion, July 16, 1945, Trinity Site, New Mexico; July 1945. Photo credit Yellowstone National Park. Any copyrighted material on these pages is included as "fair use", for the purpose of study, review or critical analysis only, and will be removed at the request of copyright owner(s). Report broken links, missing images and other errors to - overgrownpath at hotmail dot co dot uk

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