February with JLA

It took longer than usual uploading everything, because his pieces tend to be epic, but John Luther Adams is Postclassic Radio‘s February Composer of the Month. Adams is the self-created composer of the Alaskan landscape, a painter of 60-minute-plus continuous orchestral canvases that shimmer and sparkle and hover in the air, often with little or nothing in the foreground. He’s written an astonishing number of pieces that use only “white” notes, no sharps or flats, including his large orchestra piece In the White Silence, which I’ve posted in its gorgeous 75-minute entirety. (If you don’t think there’s any gap between Uptown and Down-, show a 75-minute score with no sharps or flats to some well-established New Romantic or 12-tone composer, and watch the look on his face darken.) I’ve also posted another of my favorite long works, Clouds of Unknowing, Clouds of Forgetting, and there are a few more selections to come, some of them not commercially available.

By the way, if you’re ever looking for a way to distinguish the Nixon in China John Adams from the one described above, his middle name is Coolidge. (There’s also an electronic composer John D.S. Adams, who got his start working in David Tudor’s famous Rainforest installation. Surely it’s time for some innovative entrepreneur to organize a festival of Adamses?)

UPDATE: Richard Friedman urges that I re-mention John Luther Adams’ new book Winter Music, from Wesleyan Press, which I am all the happier to do since I wrote the introduction to it. I had written about it in September here.