JOHN ADAMS (b.1947): Complete Works for String Quartet - John's Book of Alleged Dances, String Quartet, Fellow Traveler.
Catalogue Number: 04O073
Description: The Alleged Dances ('alleged' because they would be exceedingly difficult actually to dance to) represent the light, entertaining and humorous side of Adams' output, with absurd titles and a range of odd imagery providing mini-programs for each piece. Six of the ten use a prerecorded rhythm track constructed from prepared piano samples, and it is only in these that there is any real sense of Adams' customary minimalism-derived idiom. The 2008 quartet is a work of significant dimensions and expressive variety, beginning in the composer's familiar propulsive quasi-minimalist mode, but soon heading off in other directions, more complex and less repetitive, though always within a decidedly tonal framework. The large first movement incorporates an opening allegro, dramatic and lyrical slow movement and jazzy scherzo, suggesting the form of a traditional string quartet. The shorter second movement is a high-energy allegro finale propelled by stuttering 'Morse code' ostinato figuration. Fellow Traveler is an energetic, pulsing single movement, a birthday gift for Adams' long-time collaborator, opera director Peter Sellars, and contains references to earlier works by the composer. Attacca Quartet.