Adams, Lang

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LABELS: Chandos
WORKS: Short Ride in a Fast Machine; Grand Pianola Music
PERFORMER: Netherlands Wind Ensemble/Stephen Mosko
CATALOGUE NO: CHAN 9363 Reissue (1995)
Two of John Adams’s most extrovert pieces frame a pair of more problematic works by David Lang. Short Ride in a Fast Machine is performed in a wind-band transcription that preserves all its raw-edged energy, while Grand Pianola Music fuses the grand rhetoric of 19th-century Romanticism with post-minimalist processes in a thoroughly exhilarating way. The two Lang works both start out from minimalism, too: the quietly obsessive, rather Reichian Under Orpheus is the more convincing; Are You Experienced?, to which the composer himself provides a spoken guide, is more diffuse, despite its programmatic basis. A useful reissue nevertheless. Andrew Clements