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Adams: Piano Music / Jeroen Van Veen [LP]

Adams: Piano Music / Jeroen Van Veen [LP]

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A half-speed mastered, new LP transfer of a best-selling album in the acclaimed series of minimalist piano music recorded by Jeroen van Veen for Brilliant Classics.
‘Throughout, the playing’s brilliant, confident, and sonorous’: this album of the piano output of John Adams won glowing reviews when it was first released in 2017. As an indefatigable champion of minimalist music from both sides of the Atlantic, Jeroen van Veen had recorded some of these pieces before, within his compendious ‘Minimal Piano Collection’ which became an essential acquisition for collectors of the most influential classical style in music during the last 60 years.
The 2017 remake of China Gates is even more opulent as a performance, superbly engineered to catch van Veen’s subtleties of touch at the piano, and thus eminently suitable for a high-spec vinyl transfer. ‘There’s something quite nice about encountering interpretations of these perennial Adams favourites that sound so comfortable,’ continued the Arts Fuse review: ‘a pianist enjoying himself, freely exploring the enveloping diatonicism of the music.’
Adams regards Phrygian Gates (1977) as his ‘first mature composition’, and it may seem strange that he has not since written more for solo piano than the four pieces gathered here, but as Jeroen van Veen argues in his sleeve-note essay, these pieces between them say all that needs to be said in terms of the composer’s piano style.
Mostly composed in a West Coast beach hut, the gentle flow, rolling swells and thundering breakers of Phrygian Gates add up to a half-hour, overpowering analogy for melodic waves. From the same year, China Gates distils this energy into a five-minute work of memorably concentrated stillness. Adams left off the piano for another 20 years until writing Hallelujah Junction for two pianos in 1996. Van Veen gave the Dutch premiere, and he remains an outstanding, authoritative advocate of Adams’s music.

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    • Number of Discs: 1
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    • Label: Brilliant Classics
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