Ten years younger than the first generation of Minimalists, Adams has become one of the most highly regarded composers of his generation. He has worked in larger forms, especially orchestral music, for much of his career, and as the New Music Adviser to the San Francisco Symphony since 1978, Adams has been a major force in bringing all kins of new music to public attention.
*Shaker Loops/Phrygian Gates (New Albion 007) NMDS. An excellent, completely individual pair of woks, Shaker Loops is a pattern-based work for seven strings; Phrygian Gates is a pulsing piano solo.
*Shaker Loops (de Waart, San Francisco Sym./Ph. 412 214-1). An arrangement for string orchestra, paired with the Reich Variations. Sumptuous sound, but a lot remains to be said for the smaller version.
*Grand Pianola Music (R. Wilson, Soloist NY/Ang. DS-37345). Paired with Reich's Eight Lines. A terrifically misunderstood work: Funny, sarcastic, snarling, and at times rude, it's a serious work that can't afford to be taken seriously.
*Harmonium (de Waart, San Francisco Sym. Orch. & Chorus/ECM 1277)ECM. Alternately sinister and ecstatic, this is about as far from Minimalisem as you can get. Some friends whose musical opinions I respect have nothing good to say about this score. There's no accounting for taste, I guess.
*Light Over Water (New Albion 005) NMDS. A work for synthesizer (played by Adams) and brass, deployed so subtly that it's hard to tell where one leaves off and the other begins.
* Harmonielehre (None. 79115)
*Nixon in China Two recent projects: The first, a work for large orchestra, is a wonderful, emotion-laden piece that avoids melodrama. The second is an opera, scheduled to debut in 1987. See Chapter 5. p.83