JOHN LUTHER ADAMS (b.1953): Lines Made by Walking, untouched.
Catalogue Number: 10W056
Label: Cold Blue
Description: Adams here applies his slow, minimalistically shifting and overlapping soundfields to tracing the contours of landscape and the meandering paths of movement across them inspired by his own longtime habit of walking through hill- and mountain-scapes. The three movements of Lines ... each present a scale repeated over and over in "tempo canon" - that is, superimposed upon itself in different voices at different speeds, thus creating an harmonically homogeneous soundfield full of organically mutating natural shapes, never the same twice in the manner of ur-mimimalism's gradually evolving asynchronicities. Rhythmic variations assigned to the instruments create discontinuties, the lines, or tracks, of progress across the landscape. In untouched, the composer "imagined the quartet as a single sixteen-string Aeolian harp, with the music’s rising and falling lines and gusting arpeggios coming entirely from natural harmonics and open strings." Here the shifting soundfields are those of the harmonic series at different pitches, created by the quartet playing while leaving their fingerboards "untouched" throughout, evoking the vast "untouched" tundra that first inspired Adams to relate the unearthly, intangible music of the aeolian harp to landscape and to "transcribe" it for string quartet (see also 02Q069). JACK Quartet.