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Hallelujah Junction: Composing an American Life #2020

Hallelujah Junction Composing an American Life A New York Times Notable Book of the Year A San Francisco Chronicle Notable Bay Area Book of the Year A book unlike anything ever written by a composer part memoir part description and explication of

  • Title: Hallelujah Junction: Composing an American Life
  • Author: John Adams
  • ISBN: 9780312428617
  • Page: 461
  • Format: Paperback
  • Hallelujah Junction: Composing an American Life By John Adams, A New York Times Notable Book of the Year A San Francisco Chronicle Notable Bay Area Book of the Year A book unlike anything ever written by a composer part memoir, part description and explication of the creative process Hallelujah Junction is an absorbing journey across the musical landscape of America and through the life and times of John Adams, one of today s mostA New York Times Notable Book of the Year A San Francisco Chronicle Notable Bay Area Book of the Year A book unlike anything ever written by a composer part memoir, part description and explication of the creative process Hallelujah Junction is an absorbing journey across the musical landscape of America and through the life and times of John Adams, one of today s most admired and performed composers.

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      461 John Adams
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      Published :2019-08-03T13:48:52+00:00

    1 thought on “Hallelujah Junction: Composing an American Life

    1. It is common practice to compare a composer s prose with his music Milton Babbitt essays are just as thorny as his music Subordinate clauses intermingle together until the true meaning of his sentences are lost Morton Feldman composed music of amazing quiet and solitude, yet he was notoriously loud and extroverted in person And somehow his writings allows these two personalities to coexist, so that his absurd and clever humor somehow touches you deeply John Cage s writings are almost important [...]

    2. When I read someone s memoir, what I am most interested in learning is what kind of person the writer might be A select few describe their failures along with their achievements, and John Adams is one of that small group Pitcher David Wells, of all people, is another If I had never listened to any of his compositions only what I can find recorded, unfortunately , I might miss some of his work after reading his comments on his work Adams also illuminates the work of composition, at least as it is [...]

    3. This is as good an autobiography as you ll get from a composer It would be a great read even for someone uninterested in his music except of course for some chapters which are music specific Adams s writing is evocative, funny, self deprecating, and illuminating I felt like I was living his life or as if he were writing the story of MY life To use Bob Dylan s words, like it was written in my soul The great thing about Hallelujah Junction is that Adams is open and honest in his assessments of com [...]

    4. I completely enjoyed this autobiography describing the process of composing music by one of my favorite contemporary composers Sometimes it is very dense writing and I found myself reading some sections over and over He goes into detail about his own compositions as well as most other contemporary composers and their predecessors.

    5. John Adams is a leading in my opinion the best American composer of modern classical music I have had the pleasure of meeting him and hearing him speak on the curent state of modern music This is his autobiography, which I found very well written and fascinating.

    6. Stephen Jay Gould, the challenging thinker about evolutionary science, reminds us that our culture has two canonical modes for trending One is advances to something better as reasons for celebration , the other is declines to abyss as sources of lamentation and hankering after a mysthical golden age of good old days Classic music, defined in my mind as those classic cannons such as Mozart and Beethoven, perhaps Brahms and Siberlius as well, were never to be superceded so I thought , because thei [...]

    7. John Adams is a rock star The first time I heard his music was the last day of an opera class at UW Mad taught by an uninspired professor the prof generously tossed in some modern and contemporary composers as an afterthought When I heard a snippet of Nixon in China I was completely blown away It was a seriously a religious experience I had never heard anything like it and never knew opera could sounds this way so moving, so fresh, so Different I never forgot John Adams and soon checked out what [...]

    8. John Adams really became a composer after moving to San Francisco in the mid 70s, the same time I was living there I ve been following his work every since, and it s been gratifying to see him gain the success and visibility his work deserves This autobiography provides a lot of fresh insight into Adams compositional process and into the kind of human being he is It s fun to realize that the inspiration for one of his works, which programs notes originally claimed came from a dream, in fact came [...]

    9. Hallelujah Junction is John Adams autobiography, and as autobiographies go, it s a fairly good one Adams uses a pleasant, bemused tone to describe the signposts that mark his development as an artist and his principle influences as he rejects serialism no small rejection in the late 60s early 70 s , explores and rejects the John Cage influenced aleatoric music e.g random sounds or sounds randomly generated that are labeled as music when given a definitive start and end point , and ultimately fin [...]

    10. Very interesting but also very dense and intellectual I thought my classical music history and theory knowledge was pretty decent, but I think it needed to be several levels advanced to fully enjoy this book.My number one takeaway, though, is that John Adams is both an academic genius and a stoner grandpa

    11. John Adams, America s best known living composer, is far from universally loved His work is variedly labeled as dreary Minimalism, facile postmodernism, reactionary neoromanticism, politically correct eclecticism, and Personally I have been listening to his work for many years, with deepening admiration For whatever it is worth I believe that compositions such as Harmonielehre, The Death of Klinghoffer, El Nino and The Dharma at Big Sur will eventually be accepted as a solid part of the canon o [...]

    12. Anticipating going to see Doctor Atomic at the Curtis Institute this week, I pulled this compelling memoir off my reading shelf I loved reading about Adams composing process, the artists he has worked with, and how he coped with the prevailing modernist musical styles over the decades of his career He spends very little time writing about his life as a classical music celebrity, as I was worried he might He is, after all, a famous guy and could have indulged in name dropping and vain rumination [...]

    13. The release of this memoir was well timed with my discovery of Adams music though I d been aware of a few of his pieces previously, it was when a friend introduced me to Grand Pianola Music last spring that I totally fell in love with his work Adams work contains many of the formal innovations of the minimalists, electronic music pioneers, and other experimental composers yet, unlike of his contemporaries, he doesn t shy away from direct emotional appeal within his music.So, given my new found e [...]

    14. John Adams at seventy arguably is the youngest composer knowing worldwide fame Hallelujah Junction is his autobiography, and a remarkably well written one, too Adams turns out to be a modest but engaging narrator, making his memoirs of his childhood worthwile reading Highlight, however, is his acccount of his struggle in the days of avant garde, tinkering with primitive electronic devices to compose some experimental music, and engaging in concerts, happenings and other projects before ultimatel [...]

    15. John Adams writes as well as he composes In his autobiography Hallelujah Junction Adams recounts how he found his voice as a composer and illuminates his composition process, his cooperation with librettists and choreographers, and demonstrates the understanding gained by research for his wildly varying opera topics that range from Nixon s state visit to China, a Palestinian Israeli hostage drama, to the detonation of the first atomic bomb in the Mohave desert Adams breaks with system music and [...]

    16. This is John Adams autobiography, detailing his life, work, influences, and thoughts on music in general and his own works I found this book really engaging and enjoyable to read While Adams doesn t really dwell on the trials and tribulations of his personal life, he is refreshingly frank about his struggles to find his own compositional voice and about both his successes and his failures He s got a lot of interesting things to say, and it was really refreshing to hear the perspective of a compo [...]

    17. I guess anyone who writes a memoir autobiography will speak highly of themselves, but as someone who was somewhat familiar with John Adams s music, it was a great read in understanding the things that motivate him as a composer, as well as the things which have shaped him as a person He does get a little defensive at times, especially when talking about some of his controversial works or works for which he received a lot of criticism, and sometimes takes it too far Nonetheless, it was a reveali [...]

    18. I gained significant insight into John Adams life and composing from this memoir I have listened to much of his output, and heard him conduct on several occasions with the Cleveland Orchestra Once I heard him speak on a panel at the Rock Hall in Cleveland It is quite remarkable that an American composer, whom I can imagine in my living room in a friendly conversation, and who has been willing to put himself on the line politically, and is open to the popular music of his day, is nevertheless per [...]

    19. This is a pretty solid, well written memoir from John Adams I would have given it 3.5 stars if I could, but 3 it is The biggest detriment to the book is its lack of cohesion Adams repeated a lot of information, stating something in a way that would imply this was the reader s first time encountering a particular tidbit, when really it had been introduced in a previous chapter Within chapters, though, everything seemed to flow well I enjoyed learning about Adams s works with which I am less fami [...]

    20. Hallelujah Junction is an engaging look into the life of a contemporary Classical composer Adams is constantly insightful and open about the nature of his work Throughout, he remains humble about his talent but never self effacing When necessary, he answers his critics and occasionally concedes to them.The one thing I wish I d gotten insight into is the business side of being a composer One never really gets a sense of how hard Adams was working to get recognized in his early career or later, i [...]

    21. America s most important active composer writes with erudition, grace, and self deprecating humor I use an pencilled asterisk to mark the funny bits in the books I read multiple marginal stars here He walks us through some of the major works, deepening our appreciation of familiar works, and enticing us to sample the unfamiliar I hope that the book encourages listeners to give a listen to Adams, be it the brief piano piece China Gates or the memorial choral work On the Transmigration of Souls W [...]

    22. As you would expect, there s plenty of backstory into the creation of Nixon in China, The Death of Klinghoffer, and other major works, including Adams most recent opera, Doctor Atomic For me, though, some of the most important passages were the ones in which Adams spoke of the struggle to carve out a space for himself in which he could find his own voice as a composer, and where he discussed that struggle in relationship to what was going on in classical music during the latter half of the 20th [...]

    23. This book is in search of an audience At points it is covering the basics of music the development of equal temperament for someone familiar with his music as an audience member, at other times it is clearly aimed at future scholars, laying out the contexts in which he composed Most grating is when Adams picks apart his negative reviews, in which he doesn t say anything I disagree with, but comes across with a tone that suggests that any criticisms of his music are wrong rather than just differe [...]

    24. Absolutely loved this book While it s interesting as a composer bio for fans, what s even interesting is its value as a documentation of compositional process not in a detailed sense, but the way he doesn t just say I wrote this and it was performed but analyses how the work came about, his experience of it in rehearsal and performance and his view of strengths and weakenesses with hindsight, is fantastic Also useful is his descriptions of collaborations with other artists librettists in partic [...]

    25. Entertaining and very well written autobiography I wouldn t have been interested had I not recently heard a performance of The Chairman Dances by the Louisville Orchestra, an astonishing piece of music especially when heard live How did they do that Anyway, the book is set mostly in San Francisco, where several of my relatives pursue music in their own ways, including electronic music and performance art, like Adams did before electronics became, well, portable Great fun

    26. I won a signed copy of this book from a contest on John Adams website and didn t really expect much from it While I appreciate much of his music, I wasn t sure how interesting it would be to read the memoirs of a living modern composer It turns out that he s had quite an interesting life indeed, at least through the parts I ve read so far up to the mid 70s.

    27. Picked this up again as a reward for getting halfway through Grant The earlier chapters cheerfully recount his experiments with clunky homemade synthesizers and chance music, and they are much entertaining than the later chapters The later episodes end up sounding a little self important Then again, can one write a memoir without sounding self important

    28. Fascinating read Adams can write quite well and it was very interesting to see how he grappled with the pressures of how one should compose think Boulez, etc as opposed to how one feels he she should compose I have come to appreciate his music through reading this book, though I have always been a fan Anyone who is interested in contemporary classical music should read this book.

    29. Adams, a crucial figure in the forging of a new path for composed music, brings his intelligence, taste, and generosity to bear on this readable book If you think you might like it, you very probably will.

    30. I liked this autobiography until he got to the point where he gained his confidence as a composer, and then it lost me John Adams should have that confidence, he s one of the finest composers alive with the broadest range within a recognizable sound and he speaks to that in not uncertain terms.

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