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Dip Your Ears, No. 181 (Doctor Atomic, Listener’s Digest)

available at Amazon
John Adams, Doctor Atomic Symphony, Harmonielehre, Short Ride in a Fast Machine
P.Oundjian / Royal Scottish NO
Chandos SACD

Scotch Doktarr Atommac

John Adams’ single movement tripartite Doctor Atomic Symphony is a splendid primer (even time-saving substitute) for his opera on the J. Robert Oppenheimer subject. From the opening shot of “The Laboratory”, the expansive central “Panic”, and the closing meditation “Trinity”, Adams takes the listener through a wild then subdued, brooding, organic, very much tonal and always loud work that owes to Varèse, occasionally reminds of Bruckner, and radiates original Adams. It is coupled with the classic quasi-Symphony of Adams’, Harmonielehre which is to Adams what Mathis der Maler is to Hindemith. Short Ride in a Fast Machine is exactly what the title says; a wild 4-minute romp that is among Adams’ most easily enjoyable orchestral amuse-bouches. 

Charles’ review of the whole shebang on DVD here.